The Importance of Dads
Seeing my son with his father it is so clear to me how important they are to each other and yet, so often dads are treated like a spare part or not as important as mothers, especially in the early days, if mum chooses to breastfeed; this is also how dads can feel. Granted, dads cannot breastfeed; however, there is research to suggest that having a supportive partner with a positive attitude towards breastfeeding increases the chance of success and duration of breastfeeding and this is certainly true for us.
We had a really hard time breastfeeding in the first four months and despite my determination I may not have succeeded or continued if it were not for dad’s practical and emotional support. He bought savoy cabbages (you’ll have to look it up!), researched products, bought said products, took over all the household chores and most importantly, he never said “why don’t you just give up” when many others implied this thought but dare not say it! Baby also slept on dad’s chest for around three hours every evening, which gave me a much needed break and provided a special bonding time for them, but don’t just take my word for it:
“I loved my times sitting (reclining as far back as possible) in the nursing chair
with my beautiful little boy keeping me warm and cosy” ‘Daddy’
Nowadays they enjoy kicking a ball around the park, collecting stones on the beach and reading stories, but its not just about playing games and reading books, dad lovingly prepares meals, changes dirty nappies, gets little fella ready in the mornings, runs baths and puts him to bed. In fact, dad has become quite an amazing cook!
As this article is all about dads I thought I’d ask little fella’s dad about his experience of fatherhood from pregnancy until now. On finding out I was pregnant he expressed a mixture of emotions, “disbelief” being the first thing that came to mind, followed by “feeling high and wanting to tell everyone” which he did, even when under strict instruction not to! But in his words, he knew that “something amazing was going to happen” and couldn’t wait to tell our friends. He explained to me how becoming a father has changed his life, stating, “I never thought I’d be where I am now, I feel like I’ve come such a long way in such a short space of time, and I’m a better human being for it. Everything matters so much more now”.
There is growing body of evidence to support the importance of fathers' positive involvement in their children’s lives and the benefits that this has throughout their lives from infancy to adulthood; benefits from emotional wellbeing to higher educational achievement. While this is good news, in a way it’s a shame that research has to be done in the first place; no one questions the mothers role, why should they question the father’s?