Babies Who Look Like Their Dads Are Healthier, Study Says

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Are you jealous that your baby resembles your husband more than you? And why not? Every parent wishes that their baby resembles them, sometimes more than their spouse. This can leave the other person, especially mom, a tad disgruntled since she gets to hear it each time relatives drop in to see her baby. “Looks exactly like his dad.” “Oh, she is a carbon copy of papa dear.” Comments such as these become a day-to-day occurrence and we wouldn’t blame a new mom if it gets on her nerves. If you are in a similar situation or have been through it already, then here’s a piece of news that could cheer you up. Turns out, your baby’s resemblance to your husband can actually benefit his/her health, especially the very first year of life!! No, it’s not us! Science says so.

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A recent study that was co-conducted by the faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York threw up some surprising results in child care. The university’s professor, Solomon Polachek along with Marlon Tracy of Southern Illinois University, conducted detailed analytic research of the data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing (FFCW) study. The FFCW study primarily focused on studying 715 families which involved babies being brought up by their moms as primary care providers. The analysis of the first two batches of data from FFCW showed that babies who resembled their fathers at birth turned out to be much healthier a year later. This was because fathers of such kids ended up spending more time with their babies, almost 2.5 more days per month when compared to dads whose babies bore no resemblance to them. Call it perception or what you will, it seemed as though fathers were more certain about their child’s parentage when their babies resembled them. All this seems to suggest that the father-child resemblance acts as a catalyst in inducing positive parenting habits in dads (1).

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The result of this analytic study shows the implications of a father’s time in improving their child’s health, especially in the case of fragile families. According to Solomon Polachek and his co-author Marlon Tracy, the real reason for a child’s enhanced health indicators in a fragile family is the dedicated time with their dads. In families where the baby resembled the father, the dad would visit the baby more frequently and contributed better parental time in areas of care-giving and supervision, which is very essential for effective child-rearing. It also helped in effectively gathering information about a child’s health and economic needs. Going by this trend, the researchers believed that a father’s dedicated involvement in early child care did create a positive impact on a child’s health. The results of this study, the researchers said, were in support of all those policies that encouraged nonresident fathers to frequently participate in positive parenting to improve their baby’s early childhood health. The study by Solomon Polachek and Marlon Tracy was published in the Journal Of Health And Economics (2).

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This study could also help kick-start greater efforts to encourage better upbringing opportunities in fragile families. Often in such families, where dads are nonresident, the responsibility of providing economic and emotional support to the baby falls on a single mother’s shoulders. Such studies could pave the way to encourage greater involvement of far-from-home dads even when their baby doesn’t exactly resemble them. These fathers can be encouraged to engage more with their babies through parenting classes, health education programs, and job training that can help improve their financial and economic situation. By doing so, it’ll be possible to eliminate the lifestyle stressors in fragile families that usually comes at the cost of a child’s physical as well as mental health.

They say that it takes a village to bring up a child. However, studies such as these prove what an involved dad can achieve for the child – much more than what an entire village can!

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