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Health & Pregnancy

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What Dads Expect When They're Expecting

What Dads Expect When Mom is Expecting

Myth No. 2: Dads Can't Walk the Talk continued...

In studies of parents with newborns, men picked up babies, cooed, cuddled, rocked and smiled at their babies just as much as mothers did, and they responded just as competently and quickly as mothers to baby's cries for food, sleep or plain comfort. "There is simply no evidence that men are not just as caring and loving and nurturing and naturally in tune with their child's needs as women," Brott says.

What happens is that men begin suppressing these instincts because they're afraid they don't know what they're doing or aren't supposed to know. "In a couple of months you're in a situation where the dad doesn't know what to do," says Brott, "and that further compounds his feeling of inadequacy and helplessness."

Just Do It

The tide seems to be shifting. Quality time was the buzzword parents used to hear. Now, some experts believe, quality time is overrated and quantity -- all the daily contact, even if it's just cooing to your baby as you type away at your computer or stand at the grocery store checkout, is critical.

That strategy is working for Bob Furka, a banker and Boot Camp veteran from Wheeling, W.Va. Audra, now 17 months, looks to him just as readily for whatever she needs as to her mom. But their bond didn't happen as a result of those poignant moments when she fell asleep on his chest as he watched TV after work, he says. Their connection came from rolling up his sleeves from Day 1, changing diapers or even carting her in an infant carrier to the dry cleaner. Those everyday routines, especially on weekends when he has more time to spend, are "a privilege, not a responsibility," Furka says.

"Those are the moments where the really good stuff is," agrees D'Arcy, who was a stay-at-home dad for the first two years after his daughter was born seven years ago. "That's where you really bond. It's all those moments where you build this kind of silent, invisible connection, this bond of trust between the two of you."

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