Prenatal classes with a special focus on dads are becoming more popular across the country. In a recent interview with NPR, Dr. Craig Garfield, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, explains that “because each parent holds a separate role in their child’s life, expectant mothers and fathers may seek different answers to their parenting questions.”
It’s important for dads to feel like their questions are addressed. When fathers are equipped to take care of their newborns, the effects are long-lasting and beneficial for the entire family. A 2017 study of father-infant interactions revealed that, when infants have more hands-on, engaged dads, it positively impacts their cognitive development at age 2.
It’s also great for moms. They feel less anxious when dads are well-equipped for infant care and can take on a more equal co-parenting role. This greater parental harmony strengthens the couple’s relationship. It also decreases the spousal friction often caused by sleep deprivation and the general chaos of those first few months.
New dad, Yaka Oyo, shared his experience at the non-profit Bootcamp for New Dads in New York City with NPR. “Before I became a dad, the thought of struggling to soothe my crying baby terrified me, he said. “I pictured myself pleading with my baby saying, ‘What do you want?’” The bootcamp gave him the confidence he needed to take care of his daughter, helped him understand her cues, and converted him into his family’s trusted source for all things swaddling.