A father and a mother interact differently with their baby. Father interaction contributes to the growth and development of the baby in many ways. When fathers spend time with their newborn baby, they are more likely to spend more time with them as they grow. I first learned of this when I viewed the video Amazing Talents of the Newborn back in the 1990s.
While mothers connect with their babies in utero, fathers may take a bit longer to catch up once the baby is born. It is never too late or too early to bond.
When successful father-infant bonding takes place, studies show
- breastfeeding rates increase
- cognitive delay reduced
- weight gain improved in preterm infants
- less depression in Dads
Many times, especially when Moms are breastfeeding, Dads feel left out. There are so many ways that Dad can interact and bond with their baby.
There is bath time, reading time, cuddle time, diaper change, and many other moments where fathers can connect with their newborn baby, and be instrumental in their optimal development. Today we have more single-family homes, blended families, grandparents, gay parents, and many other environments where children are being raised. The traditional mother and father household is not the only way, or necessarily the best way.
Father-infant Bonding Matters
An involved father, or father (male) figure positively influences a child’s life. If the biological father is not involved, it can be a grandfather, a teacher, an uncle or a best friend. Doulas encourage father involvement to the extent of the father’s desire; educating fathers about pregnancy, labor and birth, and parenting. Fathers matter greatly.
Take some time to honor the father’s in your life. Know that they have their own set of challenges in taking on this new identity. Give them time to bond with their baby and watch what happens.