Attachment Parenting for Fathers
Attachment parenting is a big commitment, one that should not be made by mothers only. Babies need loving responses from Dad, too, along with the special comfort and fun only a father can provide. Fathers also help to nurture their babies by loving and supporting their wives. Attachment parenting does not work as well without an involved and nurturing dad. While mother preference is natural to the baby in the early years, the father is not off the hook. The father creates a supportive environment that allows the mother to devote her energy to baby matters. Besides devoting energy to the incessant needs of a new baby, some mothers try to be all things to all people, carrying on busy lifestyles too soon after giving birth. Burnout is most likely to occur in the most committed mothers – you have to be on fire first in order to burn.
Attachment mothers are prone to the “my-baby-needs-me-so-much-I-don’t-have-time-to-take-a-shower” mindset. A mother of a particularly energy-draining baby once confided to me, “I couldn’t have survived without the help of my husband.” Take breastfeeding, for example, which is the only infant-care practice fathers can’t do. Yet the father indirectly feeds his baby by helping to care for the mother, who feeds his baby. As one involved husband boasted, “I can’t breastfeed, but I can create an environment that helps my wife breastfeed better.”
“Do you mean that fathers have only a supporting role in baby tending?”
No, although it will probably seem that way in the early months. Fathers are not just substitute mothers, pinch-hitting for the real mother while she is away. Dads make their own unique contribution to the development of their baby. Your baby will not love you more or less than his mother. Your baby will love you differently. Nothing matures a man like becoming an involved father.
(For more information on fathering, see Fathering)
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.