Dad pampers a baby too #ItTakes2

brought to you byRebecca Vijay

Babies know you and imitate you

A baby begins to identify voices from a very young age. A mother's soothing lullaby can give him a sense of calm and lull him into sleep with the confidence that his mom is there to take care of him. A baby's response to a father's laugh is with a sense of fun and a spirit of adventure. When a baby sees her mother preparing tasty food in the kitchen, it gives her the confidence to experiment with her taste buds. Seeing his dad play with a football or a guitar, gives the child an interest in sports and music. When they see parents watch news or movies or cartoons, it gives the children a peek into current affairs or fantasy and adventure.

When the child goes to the park, he watches other children and learns social skills, a sense of team spirit, sportsmanship, and imagination. A child learns so many things by observation and imbibes what they see by doing it themselves. When there would be a spill somewhere, my two-year-old would rush to get a cloth and wipe it off. If nothing was available in his level, he would pick up a handkerchief and clean it up.

My husband would toss our daughter up in the air and she would only be enjoying and laughing, in that moment, not thinking about what if she falls. She had complete confidence in her dad. She is now seven-and-a-half-years old and never fails to get excited when her father rings the doorbell at the end of the day. She competes with her brother to see who will open the door. The bond between the father and children is a treat to watch. They love to go on the bike with him, sit and play with him, and share what happened during the day. In fact, my daughter loves to rush to the phone to share her exciting news or complain to her father any time during the day.

Every person has unique traits, which are a mix of feminine traits and masculine traits. The more a child is exposed to one trait, the more he picks it up. A child staying with the mother the whole day, picks up her behavioural cues and traits, like emotional, social, and financial traits. Spending the evening with the father after he comes back from work or during the weekends and holidays, helps the child pick up his cues and behaviours, say the spirit of adventure or sports, work ethics, interest in technology and gadgets.

Thus, the child picks up the best and also not-so-good qualities of the parents by observing them and learning from their actions and words. If he observes only one set, he would be more inclined towards only their behavioural traits, which might turn out to be detrimental for him in the longer run. However, if he observes both and learns from both, his overall development would be more holistic and balanced. And with the parents working together - inclusive parenting - it would exponentially increase the chances of raising a happy and healthy baby.

The changing society and changing Dads

In today's modern life, where more and more women are working outside of their homes and men are getting more involved in the household chores and the onerous task of raising children, we are now moving away from stereotypes of traditional parenting and how children should be raised. Now, men are hands-on parents too and there is no longer a thick line separating ‘Me Tarzan!' and ‘You Jane!'

Men love to cook too, women handle finances too, men keep the children entertained too, women drive too, and so many other obvious and not-so-obvious changes are taking place, which is changing the very fabric that weaves the society. Seeing these unfold in front of them has a profound effect on young children. A boy is no longer ashamed to cry or hold a baby, a girl no longer has to play solely with a doll, a boy can aspire to be a chef, and a girl can become a pilot / rocket scientist.

Doctors endorse inclusive parenting

With such a sea-change taking place in India as well, it is heartening to see the Pampers-AC Neilson survey results, which corroborates that involvement of both the parents in baby chores and spending quality time with the baby is essential for the overall cognitive, social and emotional development of the baby.

Almost 97% doctors believe that both parents must be involved for baby's development. Also, 96% doctors agree that fathers spending time with their baby regularly from early stages helps in the baby's happy and healthy development. And 93% doctors agree that father's involvement in baby care leads to stronger development of the baby's cognitive skills.

Today, more and more parents are working together to raise a baby, especially in nuclear families and where both parents are working. Also, the parents may not be working during the same shift time and need to be able to take care of the baby by themselves. One might be working the day shift and the other the night. In fact, many decades ago itself, my grandfather used to work the night shift and then take care of my mother and her three older brothers, while my grandmother used to go to school and teach during the day. As the families try out various ways by trial and error to see what works best for them, the roles of the parents are no longer limited.

Dads are helping out moms in various ways: from burping the baby after feeding to warming the baby's milk bottle to calming the baby during an outburst to playing with the baby when mom is busy in the kitchen or elsewhere to taking the kids out for a walk or a trip. And yes, dads are changing diapers too, especially now that it is disposable and in the form of pants, with less chances of mess and easier to clean up. My husband loves bathing the kids, diapering and dressing up the little one and dressing up the older one. In fact, it has been found that 86% moms feel that changing the diapers is a great way for the father to bond with the baby.

#ItTakes2 - a step in the right direction

Pampers' #ItTakes2 campaign to raise awareness on the need for inclusive parenting revolves around the premise that involvement of both parents plays an important role in the holistic development of the child and in bringing up a healthy and happy baby. It is definitely a step in the right direction.

Inclusive parenting puts the onus of the wholesome, overall development of the baby on both the parents' shoulders, so that the journey of parenthood is a memorable and enjoyable one, walking together hand-in-hand. Raising a child is no longer a burden but an awesome adventure! And both parents as well as children gain from it and contribute to making the society a bit better by being well-developed and wholesome individuals.

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