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Study Explains Why Dads Interact With Babies Differently Than Moms Do

Moms and dads interact and bond with their little ones in very different ways and not only is that normal, but these differences are backed by science.

For anyone having a baby, especially if he or she is their first, not only is it extremely exciting but it can also be one of the scariest and most intimidating times in life. Even if parents think they know what to expect, chances are there are going to be some curve balls thrown their way. It will all come to new moms and dads over time though, and it will be a unique journey.

What we mean by that is that new parents shouldn't worry if the way they care for and comfort their little one is different from what others think is the norm. Chances are most people will interact with their baby differently than their partner. Moms tend to cuddle and rock their babies while dads can be prone to hi-jinx like tossing the baby gently into the air and catching them. Not only can that seem alien to some people but it can also make them a little uncomfortable.

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via sheknows.com

The good news? It is all absolutely normal behavior. A study on paternal bonding, as highlighted by Live Science, actually discovered that dads tend to get the same chemical reaction from bonding with their children in that way that moms get from doing quite the opposite. "Oxytocin levels in men were triggered by stimulatory parenting...a mother’s oxytocin levels, by contrast, were related to affectionate parenting," the study explained.

This may all sound a little categorical and stereotypical, but fear not. Just because this is largely what happens, that doesn't mean for a second that the roles can't be reversed and any parents among you will know that they often are. What new moms also shouldn't fear is that their partner is not bonding with the baby. According to the study outlined above, that normally doesn't happen until the baby can react to the father's playful antics.

The take-home message from all of this is that even though both modes of parenting are very different, the goal is the same. Whether you're tucking in your son or daughter and singing them a lullaby, or tickling them, riling them up and making them laugh uncontrollably, you're bonding with them in a way that is vital for both the parent and the child.

NEXT: STUDIES SHOW BABIES OF STAY-AT-HOME MOMS THINK DIFFERENTLY

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