Happy Father’s Day! Today, we celebrate dads all over the world who play an integral role in family life. Sonora Smart Dodd founded Father’s Day in 1910 to honor her father, a Civil War Veteran who raised all six of his kids as a single dad. The first Father’s Day celebration was held at the YMCA in Spokane, Washington, but the holiday has since grown in popularity and is now celebrated both nationally and internationally. Fatherhood is a tremendous feat that requires care, love, and constant devotion to one’s partner and children, and Father’s Day serves as a reminder of fathers’ sacrifices and efforts.
The Importance of Fathers
Fathers are just as crucial to children’s growth and development as mothers are, providing much-needed structure and support to the family even in the child’s early life. Although some dads might feel unsure about their role in facilitating parent-child bonding and might think that moms are “better” at it, dads can also help raise confident, healthy children through attachment parenting practices. Here are some reasons why father-child bonding is mutually beneficial for fathers and children:
Dads who play with their children starting from birth boost their children’s physical and mental development—and play helps dads relieve stress, too!
When dads cuddle their babies, babies can make eye contact with them and engage with them. This gives babies the same sense of closeness and support that they get from cuddling with their moms.
Dads who soothe their babies’ tears through cuddling, rocking, and singing teach their babies that Mom is not the only one who is there to take care of them.
When dads are part of their children’s bedtime rituals and other routines, they help their children establish positive habits and make their partners feel supported. Moms who receive support in daily routines are more likely to involve dads with child-rearing later in the child’s life.
Children whose fathers are actively involved in their lives from the time they are born are more emotionally secure, form better relationships with their peers, have higher IQs, and are less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol.
Dads play an active role in teaching their children new words and expanding their vocabulary. The more communication skills children learn from both parents, the more comfortable they are exploring the world outside of Mom’s arms.
New Fathers: Breastfeeding Facts
This Father’s Day, we would like to express special appreciation for dads with newborn babies at home. Becoming a new parent is filled with uncertainty, particularly when it comes to getting your baby the right nutrients and supporting your partner in feeding your baby. At Platypus Media, we actively encourage fathers to learn about breastfeeding and the wealth of benefits it provides for babies socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Here are a few fun facts about breastfeeding for fathers who would like to know more:
Breastfeeding protects moms and babies from many illnesses, including allergies and contagious diseases. Mom’s antibodies and immune cells are passed to the baby through breastmilk.
Breastfeeding helps babies develop strong teeth, jaw muscles, and eyesight.
Mothers who breastfeed experience a quicker recovery after childbirth, return to their normal weight faster (breastfeeding burns 500 extra calories per day!), and lower their risk of contracting illnesses such as ovarian and breast cancers.
When it comes to the frequency of breastfeeding, every baby is different—some may need to breastfeed as often as once per hour, and others may only need to breastfeed once every four hours. Signs of hunger in babies include squirming, sucking their fists, and licking their lips. Watch closely for these signs!
As a dad, there are plenty of ways to become involved in your child’s life beyond feeding. When you take the time to talk, play, and cuddle with your child from a very young age, you are contributing to your child’s health, your partner’s health, and your own health! Thank you, fathers, for everything that you do to support your families each and every day.
Information for this post is drawn from Breastfeeding Facts for Fathers and the littlezaks.com blog.
For more information on breastfeeding, order Breastfeeding Facts for Fathers here.