Baby Massage for Dads.
When it comes to bonding and making those connections with your newborn it can appear a little daunting for many new Dads. Mums, by the very nature of being a Mum (and having a womb and breasts!) make very early connections with their infant and the Dads can be left wondering how they are able to forge those early bonds.
Dads play an essential role and the relationship that develops between father and infant is critical in the infant’s social and emotional development. The transition into parenthood can be stressful and some Dads feel uncertain about what their role is and how they can be more involved and make those connections.
Ways for Dads to Connect
Skin to skin contact – cuddle, hold and stroke your baby
Talk, read and sing – your baby quickly becomes attuned to your voice
Out and about – take your baby for a walk in the pram or sling
Feeding – if breastfeeding, Mum may be able to express so Dad can feed or the Dad can burp and settle after feeds. If bottle feeding Dads can help in the preparation of the feed and also feed.
Day to day care – bathing, nappy changing and settling
Infant massage can be an invaluable way for Dad and baby to connect.
Benefits of Massage for Father and Baby
-lowers stress levels of the Father
- increases Fathers confidence in handling their baby
- increase self esteem
- increased emotional attachment to baby
A study by Cheng, C.D., Volk, A., Marini, Z.A. (2011) Supporting fathering through infant massage in The Journal of Perinatal Education. 20 (4), 200 – 209) suggested “that participating fathers were helped by increasing their feelings of competence, role acceptance, spousal support, attachment, and health and by decreasing feelings of isolation and depression”
The study concluded
“Infant massage classes appear to offer fathers the positive experience of meeting other fathers and enjoying the opportunity to share their fathering experience”
Relationships take time to develop. The relationship between baby and mother and father are by their very nature different but both equally as important. The power of touch enhances the growing bond between infant and parent and can be an effective way to foster relationships.