Updated: Jul 8, 2021
At CCCN we value respect, collaboration and support. The following piece is intended to offer our values through informative content writing through our Summer Internship for the Professionals to Community Program and acknowledges that bonds with children can be created with any parent, family, guardian or primary caregiver in all family types.
Bonding with one’s baby is typically seen as a “mother’s task” or a gesture done by a female caregiver, but it is equally as important for the father figures in a child’s life to do the same. In reality, research shows the positive impact of building a healthy bond and attachment early on in a child's life with their father. This content is primarily focused on parents and caregivers who identify as the father figure in a child's life while acknowledging the diverse family structures today.
Bonding with their child may provoke engrossment which is when male figures feel an extreme sense of joy, begin to view their baby as “perfect,” and increase their sense of closeness and responsibility for their baby’s wellbeing (1). The time that a father figure may experience with their newborn also decreases their likeliness of postpartum depression: a challenge that fathers also commonly experience. After all, one in ten male caregivers experience postpartum depression (2). Connecting and establishing a relationship with the male figures that are in their lives is also important for the children. Their social, emotional, as well as cognitive development significantly depends on the bond or relationship of their primary caregiver (3). Obtaining this loving bond with their fatherly caregiver can increase the overall happiness and wellbeing of the child especially, in later years.
This loving and nurturing role can be seen as a great achievement for male figures, but sometimes the bond does not immediately click. It may take endless efforts to try and connect with their baby or experience engrossment for some fathers. A few ways to spark this love and feeling of responsibility for one’s baby include the following:
● Spend one on one time. Making sure to have individual, alone time will familiarize the child with their male caregiver. The baby will soon be comforted by their presence which creates an environment for bonding.
● Hold the baby. Whether it is simply holding the child or even having skin-to-skin time with the child, this physical contact will improve the relationship and overall closeness that the baby has with their father figure.
● Talk, sing, and tell stories. The child is filled with joy and new life, so make it fun! Feel free to bring out the best character, song, or fairytale one can think of. Communicating with the baby will make them more familiar with their male figure’s voice all while enjoying the entertainment they are providing.
The CCCN is also in contact with Baby Blossom which uses the Child'Space® Method to support and enhance parent-child interaction through touch and movement to create stronger bonding. Overall, bonding with a child is a journey that may come easy for some, or difficult for others. With time and effort, one can experience the beautiful bond between father figures and their children. You are not alone. If you feel you need more support or have any questions about how to bond with your baby, reach out to your care provider, pediatrician, a parent educator, support group, your partner, family, or friends.
Happy Father’s Day!
Julianna La Coco, Summer Intern 2021
1) Martin Greenberg and Norman Morris, Engrossment: The newborn's impact upon the father, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025. 1974.tb00906.x
2) Postpartum Mental Health Is A Men’s Issue, PostPartum Support International, https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/help-for-dads/
3) Robert Winston and Rebecca Chicot, The importance of early bonding on the long-term mental health and resilience of children, London Journal Primary Care, https://doi.org/10.1080/17571472.2015.1133012
Photo Credit: Jenny Garcia, Matrimony Media
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, expressed by various authors on this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of Central Coast Childbirth Network, INC. Central Coast Childbirth Network, INC does not offer medical advice. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only. The author's opinions are based upon information they consider reliable, thus Central Coast Childbirth Network warrant its completeness or accuracy and it should not be relied upon as such.