It has been accepted that mothers are the primary care givers of the child. While her role has been emphasized and talked about on many an occasion, only little is known about the father’s participation with regards to child care.
For centuries, it has been believed that the man provides for his family, while the woman takes care of each member. However, with each generation, the questions surrounding the status and duties of a father have become more significant than before.
A few studies have shown that fathers today seem to be contributing more towards in the area of child care, unlike in the past. This is more prominent in families where the mother is found to be employed elsewhere.
Then again, the question that we ought to address is: How pivotal is the role of a father with regards to caring for the baby?
This is what research has to say
Did you know that the father’s health and habits influence the heath of the child in many ways? Indeed it does. Researchers have observed that a man’s diet, alcohol consumption, smoking habits and age could lead to birth defects in his child. The aspects could also contribute to adverse health problems like obesity, autism, and mental illnesses. It is hypothesized that age and unhealthy habits cause changes in the man’s genes by mechanisms that are still unclear. These changes are then passed on to his children and even his grandchildren!
Thus, it is important that the father takes good care of himself prior to and after the birth of the child.
Being a father
Fatherhood does have an overwhelming impact on many men. From being a mere provider, today, fathers are said to play a crucial role in the nurturing of a child. An active father can become a good male role model for his children.
It has been recognized that the father’s active involvement in parenting has a positive impact on the cognitive development and socio-behavioural aspects of the child. Experts state that in order to master fatherhood, it is important to maintain a sense of integrity and strive towards developing an independent relationship with his child.
In a study published in the year 2007, it was found that fathers can facilitate the development of the infant’s pre-feeding behaviour in the first two hours after their birth. It also stated that the father should be regarded as the primary care-giver for the infant during the separation of the mother and baby.
How do we ensure a more active participation by the father?
There are many ways by which one could ensure that the fathers are more active in the child care process.
The first method includes the power of touch. It has been proved that the infant-father bond can be strengthened by the power of touch. Encourage the father to hold his baby whenever possible. He could also rock his baby gently in his arms or stroke her back.
Infants can sense how their parents feel towards them by the way they are touched. Infant massages, for instance, is one such way by which a father can be taught care-giving.
Research has shown that men need to know more about the transition to fatherhood and develop skills that assist in forming a positive relationship with their child.
In fact, fathers also need quiet time to spend holding their new babies close, gazing into their eyes, talking to them and comforting them when they are distressed. Encourage them to even take walks with their babies or hold their baby while reading or watching TV.