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men who change diapers change the world


Monday, 29 November 2004
I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please.
Topic: at-home dad convention
New Page 1 Some notes from the convention I promised

Some notes from the convention I promised you - Veteran at-home dad researcher Kyle Pruett of the president-producing Yale U delivered the at-home dad convention keynote speech. Although It was weighed down with research data and words like "prolactin" no one whined or took a nap. It's because he's a pretty funny guy, didn't show any diagrams like the one at right, and he knows his dad stuff. (If the diagram excites you, click on it and you can learn everything there is to know about prolactin.)


Pruett talked about the piles of studies on the hormone level changes in a dad's body before and after he becomes a father.
One hormone, prolactin, (which helps moms produce milk) was up 20 percent in new dads while testosterone levels dropped.. He mentioned one study that was well covered by Psychology Today ??researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later. What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.?

Pruett's 4 main talking points:

"What I found out was what you are doing is all right and that you do not have to have a sex change to do it"

"Babies respond better to higher tones, but once they are upset they respond better to a lower voice, so [the dads] should get up when the baby cries at night"

We are genetically wired to be good fathers just as moms are - In his book The Nurturing Father he writes "We know for certain that men can be competent, capable, creative caretakers of newborns. This is all the more remarkable given that most men are typically raised with an understanding that they are destined through some natural law to be ineffective nurturers. . . . The research on the subject, some of it now decades old, says this assumption is just not so. And it says it over and over again, in data from many different discipliners.

When your wife disagrees with you she is right also - Pruett notes while mom and dad will handle the same situation differently they are ?both right? in their actions. For example he says "Fathers are more likely to encourage their kids to tolerate frustration and master tasks on their own before they offer help," he explains, "whereas mothers tend to assist a fussing child earlier." With this balance the kid understands that he need to take risks but he knows to be careful the next time he wants to steer the sled off your breezeway roof.

I?ll add a few notes about some of the other dads at the convention tomorrow.. - Pete


Posted by athomedad at 3:38 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 4:25 PM EST
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