At Childbirth Graphics, our mission is to nurture healthy babies and grow healthy families.
With the focus of childbirth so understandably on Mom (who, let’s face it, has the hardest job of all—growing and delivering a new life!), sometimes Dad’s invaluable contributions can be overshadowed and overlooked.
In celebration of Father’s Day this June, Childbirth Graphics puts the focus on fathers and the special and important role they play in their children’s overall health and development. Here are just a few of the ways dads matter.
Ways Dads Matter Before the Baby’s Birth
A father can have a positive impact on his child’s life before the baby is born by being an involved, supportive partner to the mother throughout her pregnancy. Expectant fathers can provide support in many ways, such as accompanying his partner to prenatal visits and childbirth classes, taking on more household chores, and encouraging his partner to follow healthy habits to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
of pregnancy firsthand with our With Child™ Simulator.
When fathers are involved during pregnancy, their partners are more likely to receive early prenatal care. Women who smoke are more likely to quit smoking when the father is involved during pregnancy. Babies of involved dads are also less likely to be born prematurely or to experience infant mortality.
strategies for expectant dads to support their partners during pregnancy.
Ways Dads Matter During the Baby’s Birth
Most fathers today are present when their babies are born. During the birth, fathers can support their partner and advocate for her wishes and birth plan to be followed as much as possible. After the birth, newborns who receive skin-to-skin care from their fathers have been shown to calm sooner than infants placed in conventional cots.
Ways Dads Matter Throughout Infancy and Early Childhood
Breastmilk is a baby’s best first nutrition. By supporting their partner’s commitment to breastfeeding, fathers can help ensure that their partner is able to breastfeed their baby with success and confidence.
provides useful tips to help dads ensure breastfeeding success.
Fathers are just as capable as mothers of being sensitive to their baby’s needs. Dads can take an active role in infant care, such as bathing, changing, rocking, comforting, singing to, reading to, and playing with their baby. Fathers tend to spend their one-on-one time with infants and young children in a stimulating, playful way, which can help children learn how to manage and modify their emotions and behaviors. These interactions with Dad can help build children’s confidence to explore what’s around them while fostering a budding sense of independence.
Studies suggest that fathers who are nurturing, playful, and actively involved with their infants and young children have children with better language and cognitive skills as well as higher IQs. While mothers tend to have more verbal interaction with infants, fathers are more likely to introduce their children to more new words. By the time they are ready to start school, toddlers of involved dads also have a greater likelihood of being academically ready.
Ways Dads Matter Through the School Years
The benefits of involved fatherhood continue as children become older. During the adolescent years, children with involved dads tend to engage in fewer risky behaviors and have fewer depressive symptoms and psychological problems. Daughters of involved, respectful dads are less likely to become involved in violent relationships. They are also at decreased risk for teen pregnancy.
Studies suggest that having an involved and nurturing dad is associated with higher academic success. Children with involved fathers are more likely to earn mostly As, less likely to repeat a grade, and less likely to be suspended or expelled from school. Children of nurturing, involved dads are also more likely to go to college and become gainfully employed after they complete high school.
Bottom Line: Dads Matter!
Having an involved, nurturing, and caring father or father figure can make a powerful, positive difference in a child’s mental and physical health and development. Involved fathers and mothers each make invaluable contributions to the lives of their children. The good news is that today’s fathers are more active and involved in their children’s lives than in years past. However, fathers often still struggle to have the time to balance work and family responsibilities. Fathers who do not share a full-time residence with their children also may find parental involvement more challenging, but nothing is more rewarding and fulfilling than being an involved, nurturing dad.
Tips for Dads
- Respect your child’s mother. Maintain a respectful and supportive relationship with your child’s mother to provide a secure environment for your child. Parents who show each other respect set a good example for their child’s future relationships.
- Give your child your time. The time you spend with your child is precious. Read together, take trips to the park, eat together, and listen to what your child has to say.
- Be a role model. Realize that your child is always watching you, and you are always setting an example. Teach your child with your actions that you value honesty, responsibility, and treating others respectfully.
- Provide guidance. All children need guidance and sensible limits. Discipline in a calm, reasonable, and loving way. Teach your child that actions have consequences, and provide praise and positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors.
- Show affection. Let your children know every day that you love and accept them unconditionally. Your loving affection can help your child develop a sense of security and confidence.
To learn more about the important role fathers play in their children’s development and well-being, talk to your child’s healthcare professional.
Also, learn more about fatherhood by visiting our selection of Fatherhood Education Products. Check back soon to see more of our upcoming, new tear pads with information especially for expectant and new fathers!
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