The National Fatherhood Initiative is a major advocate for infant massage between fathers and their babies. Naturally, mothers are the primary caregivers to their newborn babies. However, that does not mean that dads are left out. Research shows that "when a child has a significant bond with their father, this bond contributes greatly to child outcomes. " Child do better physically, emotionally and scholastically when both parents are involved in their lives.
One way for fathers to initiate a bond with their baby is through infant massage. According to the study, the researchers found 7 benefits of infant massage between father and baby.
Opportunity: Infant massage is an opportunity for fathers and babies to spend time together when the mother is not breastfeeding. When asked what their motivation was for participating in such a study each father replied, "I don’t have a breast.” The mother of their baby was breastfeeding and according to them "a lot."
Motivation: Fathers stated they wanted to be "more involved to reduce the mother’s responsibility of caring for their infant" and so they could "bond and attach with their infant."
Soothing: Fathers also said they wanted to "soothe" their baby, to care for their baby in a way that made the baby feel better (cry less) and be more comfortable.
Bonding: Fathers said they wanted to "bond" with their babies.
Contribution: Fathers stated they "enjoyed knowing they contributed to the baby’s well-being."
Sensitivity: Fathers decided, on their own, to change the time of day and what body parts they massaged according to how they baby responded to the massage.
Competency and Pride: Fathers watched two videos of them massaging their infants and reported they were "proud of themselves and their babies." They saw how they improved in their skills over the three weeks and were delighted with their own results and the knowledge that they had a new care giving skill.
Infant massage between father and baby is a first stepping stone to building a lifetime bond. Sign up for an infant massage class today with Alli Cuentos, experienced doula and family educator. The classes are an excellent way to not only bond with your baby, but meet other parents as well.