Involvement of fathers in the care and development of their child
A recent study in the Journal of Perinatal Education looked at how infant massage could assist fathers in their parenting role.
The research in part was testing the premise that “fathers need to know that although their relationship with the child develops through different means, it can be equally as valid as the mother’s relationship. One proposed suggestion for helping fathers develop a relationship with their very young child is using the power of touch to help foster infant – father relationships”. The research was also exploring the role a father’s level of stress may impact on their capacity to attach to and engage with their child and their perception of their own parenting competence.
Specifically, the study found that the fathers “enjoyed participating in an activity that gave them special time with their infants and appreciated the opportunity to meet other fathers.”
The study also highlighted that “fathers are clearly quite capable of being engaged parents and father – infant massage may represent a valuable tool to assist fathers in that regard... infant massage appears to be an effective way to engage fathers and improve their parenting experiences, even in the face of potential increases in general life stresses.”