It is so refreshing and exciting to see more dads moving away from the more “old school” or “traditional” role of fatherhood. In recent years, it is more common place for fathers to share an active role in the care, nurture and parenting of their babies and children. But with today’s demands, busy lifestyles, and so much amazing support at the forefront for mothers, how many Dads truly get a hands experience with their baby?
Dads are an integral part of the family, be that as part of a nuclear family, co-parenting family, single parent family… as a working dad, or a stay at home dad. Dads are important for offering their love, security, connection, and as positive male role models to their children. The majority of studies find that an involved father plays a crucial role in the cognitive, emotional, behavioural and general health and wellbeing of a child’s life. They are also a huge support to mothers, both physically and emotionally, as they embark on their new motherhood journey. Yet, the power of the Dad seems to be given little attention.
As individuals and as a business, we are advocates for the important role both mothers and father play in raising their babies with love. We know from the scientific research that the first two years of a baby’s life are critical in giving them the best start. Interactions babies receive in the early days can affect their health and wellbeing for life.
Interactions through touch supports the connections made in babies’ brains, which supports their emotional, social and physical development as well as their mental health. As well as this, it relaxes the baby, putting their bodies in the optimal state for growth. It offers remedial support for colic, wind and constipation, and it enhances the bonding process. Dads can at times find bonding harder, or takes longer, or have fewer opportunities to experience for a variety of reasons, and this can indeed help.
Baby massage is love in action – it encourages the core five ingredients that enable bonding to take place – touch, oxytocin (love hormone), eye contact, exchange of smell and talking. By getting hands on, Dads can feel more empowered to respond to their babies’ cues, as through baby massage we learn to understand more about what babies are trying to tell us. Communicating love through touch supports a baby’s sense of belonging and feelings of security. It also stimulates oxytocin in a father’s body, helping dad to relax and help with daddy and baby bonding. Love creates love.
It is important that we raise the profile of the unsung heroes, the #handsondads out there. We must take the time to remind dads of their importance when it comes to their child’s development.