Published: Thursday 27 February 2020
Encouraging dads to participate in regular baby massage with their child, is a lovely way in which father and child can feel closer. Like any aspect of parenting, if dad is more involved, the rewards for both dad and baby are greater. Dads, generally, do not have the physical bonding opportunities that mums have, in child’s early life so baby massage can offer this extra way of connection between father and child.
Going along to a baby massage group is also a great way for dads to become more involved in parenting, and meet other parents (including other dads!). It gives them the opportunity to learn a new skill, and one that they can put into practice on a daily basis. As when anyone learns baby massage, it can be introduced into bath or bedtime, for example. In this case, it can encourage dads to take on aspects of parenting they may have previously not engaged in.
If dad is spending time massaging baby, it’s likely that baby will feel a greater bond with their father. This can result in baby wanting to interact more with dad; smiling, being pleased to see them, asking for cuddles and more. What a rewarding situation!
If you’re teaching baby massage, do remember that dads may need more encouragement to attend classes, and may feel more comfortable in a one-to-one situation or in a ‘dads only’ setting.
Research has also been undertaken on the topic of baby massage and fatherhood. Here is a selection of articles you may like to read:
- Supporting Fathering Through Infant Massage by Carolynn Darrell Cheng, MA, Anthony A. Volk, PhD, and Zopito A. Marini, PhD, published in the Journal of Perinatal Education
- Fathers' Experiences Massaging their Infants by Mary Kay Keller and Marsha Rehm at Florida State University
- The Effects of Infant Massage on the Fathers in Transition to Parenthood by A. Gnazzo, C. Squires, G. de Campora, R. Lella, G. Larciprete G Zavattini.
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