When I speak to dads-to-be, there is still a misconception in modern society that ‘Real Men’ aren’t supposed to be ‘soft’, but times are gently changing and there is a wave of fathers coming through that are prepared to learn how to support their partners during labour, and take a more nurturing role in the family.
Did you know…
Research has shown a father’s touch is just as important for a newborn, and can not only help with the bonding process, but massaging your newborn is just as equally relaxing for the dad as it helps reduce stress hormone levels through the calming power of touch.
Infants receiving massage, on the other hand, displayed an increase in eye contact, smiling, vocalising and reaching responses.
Once bubs is born, get dad to massage bubs – this a lovely way to nurture a growing relationship. It also offers mum a break, gives dads something to do with their child and to spend quality one to one time together.
As Tim Barrus said, “It takes a tough man to make a tender father”. Tim is a father and child counsellor in Florida, U.S.A. Tim’s article, “Nurturing” offers 6 valuable points for all expectant and new fathers:
1. Never underestimate the power of an infant
Bubs doesn’t know that as a male, dad isn’t supposed to relate to them until they are old enough to play footy, their needs are immediate, they need you from the moment they are placed into your arms.
2. Learn to nurture
Although this sounds silly, make a decision to do it! Be intimately involved in loving and caring for your baby and make the decision before bubs comes.
3. Do lots of touching
Yes, touch for the sake of touching! Go ahead and pick up that baby and hug them purely because it feels good to do so…
4. You are not going to be a bit player in the mind of your infant
Just as mums are now playing a more important economic role within the family, dads need to assume a more emotional one.
5. Nurturing is work
It doesn’t matter what the gender is of your bubs, boys need it as much as girls, nurturing can take place at 3am when bubs has a sore tummy, nurturing can be tough, it can strain nerves and relationships. It takes a real man to nurture.
6. Nurturing doesn’t end with infancy
It’s just the beginning. In the long run it will be worth more than a roomful of the most expensive toys.