Dads today are more actively involved in raising kids, a most welcome shift from just bringing home the bacon and paying the bills. Their role in a child's life has lifelong benefits, as many studies show, and their presence needs to begin from the moment of childbirth.
To squirmy dads, sorry, but your physical presence in the birth of your child can reap rewards in the mental and physical well-being of your child and your wife. During her TEDTalk, Debrah Lewis, first vice president of the international confederation of midwives from the Caribbean, makes an excellent case of how fathers can act as advocates for their partners.
1. A father's presence has been linked to less complicated births and unnecessary interventions. Studies have shown that a father's involvement in their partner's birth plan can lead to unmedicated childbirth or fewer labor interventions. After all, he's there to support her through it. Lewis adds that fathers who are present to welcome babies in the world are born with fewer birth complications. Even preemies improve faster when their dads frequently visit them in the hospital.
2. Dads can help moms become successful in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a family affair indeed, as stressed by international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) Joyce Ann Zaragoza-Martinez. The chance of a mom breastfeeding longer becomes higher with a supportive partner. An action as simple as taking over burping duties from a breastfeeding mom can be a relief.
3. Dads can help ease a mom's baby blues and even postpartum depression (PPD) Many moms have attested that their partner's encouragement and support have helped them adjust to their new normal especially when it comes feelings of anxiety and sadness. By the way, men can suffer from PPD, too, according to Lewis.
4. A father who is there for childbirth kickstarts his nurturing instinct. "It's been well proved that just like the woman who's giving birth, the father also has a surge in the hormone called oxytocin, the love hormone," says Lewis. With oxytocin, a father gets a hormonal dose of nurturing, affectionate and trusting behavior.
5. Dads become much more significantly involved throughout the child's life. The fatherhood journey is only enhanced by the first bond formed when a father sees his baby for the very first time. It's a powerful moment, with overwhelming emotion that motivates a father to protect his partner and child whatever lies ahead.
"It cannot be replicated at any other point in their life. The birth of the child is miraculous. It's the beginning of the [child's] life and the birth of [moms and dads] as parents," Lewis stresses. Being present in the birth of their child gives fathers a great sense of purpose.
Father's involvement, their engagement, and their support are critical in childbirth. If we want dads to be more involved in their child's upbringing, start from the beginning.