It is just as important for fathers to begin holding and bonding with their babies immediately following birth as it is for mothers; however, men tend to be a bit more anxious about holding newborns than women are.
Often, babies continue crying when ‘Dad’ is trying to hold and console them because Dad is nervous and his heart rate is elevated. The more fathers step into the role of consoling their babies, the more at ease they become—in turn, easing the baby.
Touch and interaction continue to be two of the main components supporting healthy brain development in babies and children. Fathers are encouraged to hold their baby as much as possible, as well as begin interacting with them as soon as possible, such as reading and talking to them.
This is often considered primarily the mother’s role, but the more fathers show affection and interact with their baby and/or children, the more confident and successful they become with this aspect of parenthood. It is also important for men to remember to balance their roles as father and husband.
Spouses must provide each other with social support, as well as parenting support, as each will most likely have different approaches to parenthood—which is completely normal and further increases a child’s adaptability throughout different life experiences.
Becoming educated on what to expect and how to support the family in all aspects is the best way for men to prepare for fatherhood. Cone Health Women’s Hospital understands the importance of educating men in the community about parenthood and has partnered with the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina to offer the Fathers Matter series, which covers a variety of topics, from identifying and teaching values to child safety.
The next Fathers Matter series begins Thursday, September 18 from 7:00-8:30pm at Women’s Hospital Education Center. The class is free and registration is not required. For more details, call 553-9704.
Women’s Hospital also offers a Daddy Boot Camp program that teaches dads-to-be how to hold, comfort, diaper, swaddle and play with their infant. To learn more and to register, visit www.conehealth.com/classes or call (336)832-6682.
Randy Wall is a fatherhood educator for Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, and leads the Fathers Matter series at Cone Health Women’s Hospital. Wall received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Guilford College in 1995. He has been a fatherhood educator for the past five years.