An interesting new survey from SMA Nutrition suggests that some fathers who come across as being unwilling to help with the upbringing of their babies and young children are actually unconfident about their abilities.
The study finds half of new dads admitting that they don’t always make the effort to get home from work in time for their baby’s bath and bed routine, while 43% say they rarely or never get up in the night to comfort their crying baby.
Other Ã‚â€˜confessionsÃ‚â€™ to sidestepping parental duties include not always changing their baby’Ã‚â€™s nappy (68%) and a tendency to spend time playing with baby rather than on practical childcare tasks (45%). More than a third (36%) have taken their parentsÃ‚â€™’ side on the Ã‚â€˜best way to parentÃ‚â€™ while 35% say they have felt relieved that work commitments have meant an overnight hotel stay as it ensures a good night’s sleep.
57% of fathers said that they felt their partner was more skilled at looking after their baby. 68% of those who don’t get home in time for baby’s nightly routine feel guilty.
23% of new mums said that the best thing their partner could do was help with the household chores, while 14% said help with the “night shift” would be most appreciated.
New dad Greg Schofield agrees that he has struggled to adjust to the role of confident, competent dad. “Although I’d read a guide to fatherhood and had plenty of conversations with friends about what to expect, I just wasn’t prepared for the reality when Eleanor arrived. I really wanted to do my bit, but I just felt overwhelmed. Even just holding Eleanor, I felt clumsy and was relieved when Laura took over when it came to things like bathing, bottle feeding and nappy changing as I was scared of doing it wrong. She is absolutely brilliant with Eleanor, so I tend to gaze on in a state of awe as she really is so much better equipped for the job.”
Many parents, both men and women, feel they should instinctively know how to look after their baby. Men in particular are often reluctant to ask for advice, because that is not seen as manly. The reality is that parenting skills are mostly learned Ã‚â€˜on the jobÃ‚â€™ and the best way to grow in confidence and bond with your baby is to get involved in all aspects of parenting.Ã‚â€