It’s the quantity: understanding fatherhood

The long-held belief that fathers are passive child-rearing players is changing. A survey in the US in 2000 showed that fathers are spending 6.5 hours  per week caring for children. That’s a vast improvement compared to the 2.6 hours spent in 1965. There is also a three-fold increase in the number of fathers staying at home compared to ten years ago.

There are many biological changes among fathers that make them as caring as mothers. A study in Canada showed elevated prolactin levels — a hormone highly elevated in pregnant moms — for expectant fathers.

Testosterone, the male hormone, decreases by 30% after the birth of the baby, which makes fathers less forceful and more loving. About 4% of fathers from 26,000 study participants in the UK manifested with postpartum depression.

Research has shown that parents differ in style with child care. When a mother holds a baby, the baby becomes tranquil. When a baby is held by the father, the baby becomes excited and ready to play. Dads also influence kids in unique ways by challenging children’s emotional and cognitive capabilities that prepare them for real-life situations.

This shows that like mothers, fathers are equal players in child care, which should complement the mother’s care.

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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