Paternal Behavior at First Contact with the Newborn in a Birth Environment without Intrusions
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2007
Volume 5, Issue 3, pages 123–132, September 1978
How to Cite
McDonald, D. L. (1978), Paternal Behavior at First Contact with the Newborn in a Birth Environment without Intrusions. Birth, 5: 123–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536X.1978.tb01264.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2007
ABSTRACT: The behavior of seven fathers immediately after the births of their children in a home-like birth environment was videotaped by remote control cameras. Seven repetitiously exhibited behaviors were independently quantified by trained observers, using a continuous flow, slow motion video play-back technique. The first three minutes of neonate-oriented paternal behavior were examined for stability, to see if they emerged in uniform sequence, and were compared with the same behaviors shown in later minutes. The results indicate that initial father-newborn behaviors were stable. All the fathers showed the same sequence in the emergence of behaviors toward their new babies. After hovering and hand pointing behavior, contacts were made with the tips of the fingers, followed by palm contact with the newborn. These findings suggest that the repertoire of paternal behavior at initial encounters with their newborns may be species-characteristic of the human father, and may function to establish the father-to-newborn affectional bond.