Dad’s Best Father’s Day Gift? Bonding with Baby!
SAN FRANCISCO –On this Father’s Day we celebrate the bonding between dads and their newborn babies. While the focus of childbirth and postnatal care typically revolves around mother and baby, and with good reason, research shows that dads can also have an incredible impact on their babies in the days after birth.
Fathers who engage in skin-to-skin contact, often called kangaroo care, with their newborns can positively impact their child’s physical and emotional health immediately. Skin-to-skin contact helps create a bond between dad and baby and helps elevate a father’s natural parenting instincts. Practicing kangaroo care also helps dads become more sensitive and aware of their baby’s needs, and more confident about their parenting skills.
For the baby the benefits are many, says Terri Slagle, M.D., director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center’s Van Ness Campus hospital. “Frequent skin-to-skin contact increases brain development and decreases stress responses. By holding his baby to his chest, dad creates a sense of security which can lead to a reduction in irritability and improved sleep, and helps to foster a regular and stable heart rhythm and breathing pattern,” Dr. Slagle says. “It can also lead to weight gain for the baby as he or she develops better absorption and digestion of nutrients following skin-to-skin contact.”
Simply put, skin-to-skin contact stimulates the baby’s immune system and promotes physical and emotional wellbeing for both dad and baby while developing a stronger bond for the long term.