Fatherhood: the real strength of the bond
Fatherhood is a life-changing event and many fathers prepare as much as new mothers for the arrival of their baby. There are many myths and misconceptions out there that seem to downplay the importance of a father’s presence in his baby’s life. However these are just that, myths. The strength of the bond between a father and his baby can be just as strong as the one between mother and child. Here are some facts about the bond between the father and the baby in that first year:
- If the father is around the pregnant mother a lot, by 22 weeks he can hear and get acclimatized to the deeper male voice as well. So when the baby is born, he will recognize the father’s voice just as he recognizes the mom’s, if exposed to it enough during pregnancy.
- When men bottle feed an infant, it has been seen that the baby drinks and equal amount of milk. They can do it just as sensitively and it creates a good bonding ritual for the dad and baby.
- Biologically as well, the response to a baby is similar in many ways. For example a man’s heart races as fast as a woman’s when he hears a baby cry.
- If equal bonding happens with the mother and the father then the child is seen to have little difference between attachments to either parent. However due to the difference in the nature of the bonding a child would prefer one parent over the other depending on the situation. Fathers typically have a slightly more physical relationship with their baby i.e throwing them up in the air, tickling or general playful roughhousing. Mothers tend to be more comfort-oriented, more predictable and soft.
- It’s not only mothers who have a ‘natural’ instinct towards childcare. They are usually better at it than fathers because they spend more time with the baby so they know what the baby needs. Studies show that there is no difference in the learning curve of nurturing a baby, if given the right social support, and a father can learn all of it if he spends the same amount of time with the baby as the mother.
- It has also been seen that babies who have interacted with both parents equally tend to be more at ease in social situations and are also more social when starting pre-school than other tots who have not had this two-parent involvement.