Becoming a Father

by Maxine
Posted July 7 2010 12:12pm
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Your baby will be here very soon, and you probably have some concerns about your new role as a father. Will you know how to care for the baby? Will you connect? This worry could come from the popular belief that fathers are less sensitive than mothers – and even somewhat clumsy with their babies, especially newborns.

Not to worry – there are several studies by noted researchers that suggested that this is untrue. The results actually indicated that fathers are naturally capable of caring for their new babies, as they are generally sensitive, warm and competent caregivers. And they are just as capable or incapable as mothers. And like mom, dad can talk to and touch their babies throughout pregnancy, bonding long before they are born.

Take a look at the information below. It outlines the behavioural and emotional responses new dads showed toward their newborns, according to the research findings. You’ll find plenty of responses that show that new dads are sensitive and competent.

Biological responses:
Their heart rate and blood pressure increased while new fathers were interacting with their newborns. This suggests that new Fathers are physically prepared to respond to their babies, which shows they are certainly far from indifferent.

New fathers reported feeling elated when their babies were born, emotionally connected to the child and equally as anxious as Mothers about leaving them in someone else's care.

New fathers frequently visited hospitalized newborns. They showed interest by behaving the same as moms when meeting their babies for the first time and when interacting with their babies in the maternity ward.Blindfolded with noses plugged, new fathers could recognize their children by touching their hands, which demonstrates a certain physical connectedness.

When observed feeding their babies, both parents responded appropriately to their baby's cues. (However, if fathers were not asked to show their competence, they were more likely to let the mothers take over.)

Researchers also discovered ways in which new fathers demonstrated sensitivity to their babies’ needs, as compared to mothers.

When babies showed upset during feeding—for example, sneezing, spitting up, coughing, grunting, crying or moving their mouths— fathers showed sensitivity toward their babies. On average, Fathers were just as responsive as mothers.

When babies needed a change in pace or support when feeding, fathers were, on average, equally as capable as mothers to encourage their babies to eat. They also responded well to their babies’ cues by either adjusting to meet the baby’s pace or using phrases like, “Open wide!” and “Look at the spoon!”

When their babies cried, fathers were less likely than mothers to automatically pick them up. Fathers tended to wait longer than mothers to pick up crying babies.

Both mothers and fathers adjusted their speech patterns when talking to their babies. They spoke more slowly, used shorter phrases and repeated themselves more often than when speaking to an adult.

However, fathers demanded higher levels of speech from their babies. For example, while mothers were more likely to use shorter sentences, fathers used more words in their sentences. This means the babies had to pay more attention to learn what the fathers were saying.

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Do Dads Experience Pregnancy Symptoms?

by Maxine
Posted July 24 2010 02:14pm
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Having Food cravings? Gaining weight? You may be experiencing sympathy symptoms in response to your partner’s pregnancy.

Dads’ are you developing food cravings? Is your weight starting to increase as the pregnancy progresses? Many expectant fathers experience at least one or two sympathetic pregnancy symptoms as a common response to their partner’s pregnancy.
When expectant fathers experience one or more symptoms of their partner’s pregnancy, they may be experiencing what is called Couvade Syndrome. Couvade is a recognized syndrome and may also be referred to as sympathy symptoms.
The percentage of men in Western countries who experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms is larger than most people think.  The estimates range from 11- 97 men in 100 among fathers in Western countries, depending on the subgroup that is counted.

Scientists still do not understand the purpose of sympathetic pregnancy symptoms in men, but the symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, weight gain and heartburn, food cravings and diarrhea and sometimes abdominal pain. If you do experience abdominal pain and diarrhea, you should check them out with your doctor.

Some expectant fathers may feel that the symptoms they experience affect their metal well-being. These can include mood swings, nervousness, irritability and difficulty concentrating.

These symptoms typically appear during the first trimester of the pregnancy and often peak during the third trimester or during delivery. However, they can start at any time depending on the circumstances. Fathers who experience pregnancy symptoms can usually expect them to end just after delivery. Although he, like mom, may have to work hard to lose the extra weight.

Couvade’s syndrome in expectant fathers is a normal reaction to the mother’s pregnancy and is found worldwide in any culture.

If you are noticing that you are experiencing symptoms of Couvade’s you should discuss them with your doctor. We all handle stress in different ways and these symptoms indicate that you might need a physician’s help. Even if this is Couvade’s syndrome, you should see a doctor for persistent symptoms or if you are experiencing severe or unusual headaches.


If you're pregnant or thinking about having a baby, check out www.welcometoparenting.com. These interactive, online prenatal and parenting classes will provide information on pregnancy, labour and delivery, your relationship and a community of expectant and new parents just like you! Watch the overview video!



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Emotional Red Flags

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 11:26am
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You’re pregnant. Lately, you’ve been on edge and sweating all of the small stuff. Perhaps you’re worried because your partner seems sad all the time. Does this sound familiar?

Becoming a new parent is an enormous emotional adjustment. For some people, it’s overwhelming!

Are you or your partner finding it hard to get used to the idea of new parenthood?

Read through the following list to check for emotional red flags. If you’re experiencing more than two, or even if you only have one but it’s really intense, you might want to consider talking to your doctor.

Remember—these signs can apply to either you or your partner.

  • Your mood swings are lasting longer than two weeks and you see no sign of them stopping.
  • You constantly feel anxious, irritable, agitated, guilty (worry that you’ll be a bad parent) or sad all the time – maybe you even cry for no reason at all.
  • You can’t (or don’t) feel the need to sleep or eat regularly.
  • You have trouble concentrating or focusing on things, making decisions (or remembering that you made them) or even have some short-term memory loss.
  • You’re always tired and feel like you have no energy.
  • You suffer from hot/cold flashes, chest pain, dizziness or shakiness.
  • You constantly fret about your baby’s growth and development.
  • You feel restless, guilty or worthless, that you have no control over situations.
  • You are no longer interested in the hobbies or activities that you used to enjoy.
  • You’ve pulled away emotionally/physically from your partner, friends, family and colleagues.
  • You have thoughts about harming yourself, or about death or suicide.

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