I'll have some prolactin with lactation on the side please.

Some notes from the at-home dad convention, veteran at-home dad researcher Kyle Pruett of the president-producing Yale U delivered the at-home dad convention keynote speech. Although it was weighed down with research data and words like "prolactin" no one whined or took a nap. It's because he's a pretty funny guy and he knows his dad stuff.

Pruett talked about the piles of studies on the hormone level changes in a dad's body before and after he becomes a father. One hormone, prolactin (which helps moms produce milk) was up 20 percent in new dads while testosterone levels dropped.. He mentioned one study that was well covered by Psychology Today “…researchers asked couples to hold dolls that had been wrapped in receiving blankets worn by a newborn within the preceding 24 hours. (After their wives gave birth, fathers held their actual baby.) They listened to a six-minute tape of a real newborn crying and then watched a video of a baby struggling to breast-feed. The investigators took blood from the men and women before the test and 30 minutes later. What they found is startling: Men who expressed the greatest desire to comfort the crying baby had the highest prolactin levels and the greatest reduction in testosterone. And testosterone levels plummeted in those men who held the doll for the full half-hour.”

Pruett's 4 main talking points:

"What I found out was what you are doing is all right and that you do not have to have a sex change to do it"

"Babies respond better to higher tones, but once they are upset they respond better to a lower voice, so [the dads] should get up when the baby cries at night"

We are genetically wired to be good fathers just as moms are - In his book The Nurturing Father he writes "We know for certain that men can be competent, capable, creative caretakers of newborns. This is all the more remarkable given that most men are typically raised with an understanding that they are destined through some natural law to be ineffective nurturers. . . . The research on the subject, some of it now decades old, says this assumption is just not so. And it says it over and over again, in data from many different discipliners.

When your wife disagrees with you she is right also - Pruett notes while mom and dad will handle the same situation differently they are “both right” in their actions. For example he says "Fathers are more likely to encourage their kids to tolerate frustration and master tasks on their own before they offer help," he explains, "whereas mothers tend to assist a fussing child earlier." With this balance the kid understands that he need to take risks but he knows to be careful the next time he wants to steer the sled off your breezeway roof.

©2005, Peter Baylies

*    *    *

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. - Frederick Douglass

Peter Baylies is the Director, of the At-Home Dad Network . The At-Home Dad Network is a loose-knit grassroots organization for primary care dads who want to start up or join any activity to help connect at-home dads. Since 1994 we have connected and promoted home-based fathers across the country and around the world. It started in with a small group of dads who wanted to be listed in the the At-Home Dad Newsletter and grew into a network of thousands of dads who started dozens of At-Home Dad Network playgroups, e-mail list servs, media contacts, conducted research, and the At-Home Dad Convention. Subscribe to our free online At-Home Dad Newsletter to be delivered to you via e-mail. We also invite you to join the new At-Home Dad Network online message board. where you can connect with at-home dads next door and around the world. If you would like to join either the At-Home Dad Message board and or to receive the free online newsletter and request to join or ask any questions in joining or starting a playgroup or need any resources. If you have any at-home dad news like the one above, or opinions or events and you would like me to check out and possibly share with the readers, send it to Peter Baylies at or  

Disclaimer | Privacy Statement
Menstuff® Directory
Menstuff® is a registered trademark of The National Men's Resource Center™
©1996-2023, The National Men's Resource Center