VIP Dads – The Influence of Dads on Infants and the Breastfeeding Relationship

It’s no secret Dad is a VIP in your family. But many dads, especially first-time dads, find their new venture into fatherhood intimidating. While it certainly may be that (for dads and moms alike), the more involvement Dad has with your infant, the better. The benefits of a father’s influence are numerous for everyone in the family and can have a lasting effect. Dads can even play a major role in breastfeeding.

As Father’s Day approaches, embrace the love and support from Dad. From just spending quality time, to being part of the breastfeeding journey, dads are definitely VIPs! Here’s why….

The Research on Dads and Babies

Many studies point to the major advantages children receive from dual parent involvement. And that starts in infancy. Research indicates that dads have the power to boost their babies’ cognitive aptitude as well as emotional and social well being by engaging in play and bonding with their infants. It may not feel like it when Dad is making silly faces, reading books or changing diapers, but these everyday activities make a big impact. Areas including academic achievement, career success, future relationships, sexual responsibility, and self-confidence are all linked to early fatherhood involvement.

Daddy Bonding Activities

When Mom is in the thick of newborn care day-in and day-out, it’s hard to step back and let Dad take over for a while. But if your exhaustion doesn’t make you cave, the research should. Enjoy a much-needed break and encourage Dad to spend quality time with your little one. Engaging activities include:

  • Experience nature together
  • Play peek-a-boo
  • Wear baby, even in public
  • Be part of the routine including bath time, bedtime and diaper changes
  • Comfort fears, teething, boo-boos and sick days
  • Develop special games together

Remember, dads play differently than moms and your baby will benefit from both of your styles. Through the years, your child will come to rely on you and your partner differently. The foundation of that love and trust begins in infancy.

Dads and Breastfeeding

Dads can be an integral part of breastfeeding. Beginning during pregnancy, dads can study up on breastfeeding to prepare to be mom’s support system. You can take a class together, read books and online resources, and watch videos. When your newborn arrives, Dad can remind you what you both learned, and most of all encourage you through the often-challenging journey.

Logistically dads can take over during burping, diaper changes or bringing your baby to you during nighttime feedings. When you need a break, Dad can serve pumped milk. (This is especially helpful for nighttime duty!) And, of course, your partner can bring you snacks and water, or sit with you while you nurse.

Dad’s presence for this most essential time of early nourishment and nurturing is invaluable. While your little one won’t acknowledge it, this family bonding time shows your baby that both Mom and Dad offer love, security and comfort.

Happy Father’s Day! Wishing your family a special day of bonding as you celebrate your VIP!

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