Copenhagen changes name of new baby ‘mothers’ groups’ to allow groups with dads

The Local Denmark
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Copenhagen changes name of new baby ‘mothers’ groups’ to allow groups with dads
Photo by Khoa Pham on Unsplash

Neonatal mothers’ groups known as mødregrupper in Copenhagen will be given a new name, barselsgrupper (‘parental leave groups’) in a move that is hoped will get dads involved during their parental leave.


Copenhagen Municipality will soon put together the groups for new parents living in the city based on whether parents prefer their group to only include mums, only include dads, or have a mixture of both, broadcaster DR reports.

The groups, long termed mødregrupper, exist to help parents of newborn infants to contact others who have just welcome a child into the world, giving them a support network in the early days of parenthood.


Since the 1970s, district nurses (sundhedsplejersker) have placed 6-8 new mothers from the municipality together in groups which they can use to support each other and share experiences. The groups are usually arrange by district nurses who know new mothers locally.

The municipality’s elected committee for children and youth voted unanimously to switch to a new model bringing in fathers, called barselsgrupper.

The motivation for the proposal was that “there was no offer equivalent to mothers’ groups for fathers who take a long parental leave after the baby is born”.

“If someone wants it to be just a mothers’ group, or if someone wants it to be just a fathers’ group or mixed groups, we will try to put people together on that basis,” the head of the committee, Conservative Jakob Næsager, told DR.

READ ALSO: What to expect when you’re having a baby in Denmark

“Luckily, a lot of children are born in Copenhagen so that should make it possible to match people,” he said.

Although the municipality wants to offer fathers the option of parenthood groups in the same way it has done for mothers up to now, mothers will still be able to choose women-only groups, DR reports.

That will give them a sense of security when they “share certain questions with other women” including breastfeeding, the municipality states.

A representative from the Danish nurses’ trade union in Copenhagen told DR the new offer was “good” but noted it added administrative responsibilities for district nurses.

She also said that despite the name change, mothers’ groups were essentially not being replaced but supplemented by an additional option.

“This will be more of a supplementary option that will be chosen by a small section of Copenhageners,” the representative told DR in a written comment.

“I’m interested to see who that will be and I hope the scheme will be evaluated,” she said.

Danish parental leave rules were last year changed to “earmark” a greater proportion of the leave to each parent, meaning fathers – for example – can no longer hand over the vast majority of statutory leave to mothers.

The new “parents’ groups”, which will not present additional costs to the municipality, are expected to be implemented in Copenhagen Municipality from the second quarter of 2023, DR reports.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Denmark’s new parental leave rules


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