This Father’s Day, we would like to take a moment to thank the fathers in our state for all they do in support of maternal and child health.
Fathers are vitally important to the health and well-being of children and mothers but are the least recognized for their contributions. Maternal and child health programs and public health officials are just beginning to understand how fathers affect their children’s health and development.
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality recently highlighted the many contributions of fathers to maternal and child health. For instance, when fathers are involved during pregnancy, mothers are more likely to receive prenatal care in the first trimester, which improves the health of moms and babies.
When fathers practice skin-to-skin care, in which the father holds the infant close against his bare chest, that enhances the baby’s health.
Fathers support moms in breastfeeding comfortably, both at home and in public. Breastfeeding offers tremendous health benefits for both mothers and babies, and a supportive attitude on the part of fathers is crucial.
Fathers help by putting babies into car seats safely and by putting babies to sleep safely. Fathers enable mothers to get much-needed rest, and they support healthy social and emotional development as children grow into young adults. Father involvement absolutely supports better school outcomes.
Families come in many shapes and sizes: not all families have dads, and some may have more than one. This is true for moms too. What is important, today and every day, is that we acknowledge the contributions that fathers make.
Today, please take a moment to thank a dad for being such a powerful ally for good maternal and child health outcomes in our New Mexico communities.