The Benefits of Getting Dad More Involved with Baby
As mothers, we’re highly conscious about bonding with our baby from the very moment he or she is born. We also spend 40 weeks following a balanced diet and getting the right kind of exercise to give our baby just what he or she needs and we feel the change inside as our baby grows and our little bump starts to form. When we begin to wean our little one onto his or her first solids, many of us choose to go organic as we feel it offers the best nutrition available. So it makes sense that we would also want to make every effort possible to ensure that our baby develops a healthy and positive relationship with the most important male figure in his or her life - Dad. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, studies reveal that involved fathers provide practical support when bringing up children and serve as important role models for their development. It is believed that children with caring fathers who interact on a daily basis perform better at school, are more intelligent and develop better linguistic and cognitive skills.
Both the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland and the University of Oxford in England have undertaken research which proves that there is a need for fathers to play an active role in their children’s upbringing. Both universities believe that a positive paternal relationship improves a child’s sense of well-being and builds up their self-esteem; two key elements that will get them on the road towards becoming a self-confident adult. An article written by Dr. Gail Gross and published in the Huffington Post, explains that the relationship a child has with his or her father affects all other relationships he or she lives through, including friends, lovers and partners, from birth to death. Gross believes that the relationship a child develops with his or her father determines what he or she considers to be loving and acceptable from then on. That’s a pretty huge responsibility for Dad to carry on his shoulders. Why are more Dads taking an active interest?
Times have definitely changed. If we scan back to 30 years ago, Mom was the full-time nurturer in most households. She kept in contact with the school, cooked the meals, helped with homework and comforted the baby during sickness. Dad went to work, fixed things and told the children off when they were naughty, which is a pretty unfair role to have to assume when you think about it, right?
Today, though, things have changed. Fathers have become more involved in child-rearing activities. Indeed, it could be argued that this has now become the norm. According to Pew Research Center, 57% of Dads see parenting as central to their identity. So, what has encouraged the shift in behaviors and roles? One major factor is that more Moms go to work. Data gathered by Pew Research Center reveals that around just 27% of couples who live with children under the age of 18 are families in which only the father works. In 1970, this same figured was recorded at 47%. The shift is dramatic.
Encouraging father-child interaction
As modern mothers, wanting to do the very best for our children, we should encourage Dad to really connect with the baby, even before he or she is born. Fathers should be included in all prenatal activities, scans and medical appointments. If there’s a baby shower, there’s no reason why Dad shouldn’t be invited. After the birth, both baby and Dad will benefit from doing basic, everyday stuff together, like preparing breakfast, playing in the park on the weekend, or dealing with homework side by side. Reading before bedtime, changing diapers, being the one to bath the baby, or spending a whole day together without Mom are really great activities that will encourage father/child bonding and give your little one the support that he or she deserves.
Feeding time with dad
At Amara, we have fun recipes you can have dad cook Sunday morning as your baby starts solid foods and finger foods. Here is one for coconut green pancakes, it's a great healthy breakfast for babies and the whole family!
Article written by guest blog writer: Jackie Edwards, thank you Jackie for contributing!