FatherWorld report June 13 2005
An answer to this perennial question is given in a report published today by charity Fathers Direct. According to the FatherWorld report, a mans nipples are perfectly suited to soothing a crying baby until it can be fed.
Former president of the Royal College of Midwives, Caroline Flint said that she had come across many examples of men in Britain suckling their babies, even though it might not be something they talk about very much.
Caroline went on to say, Its not a case of the man saying to the baby, Here you are, have my booby, but usually of the baby snuffling along the fathers chest, finding the nipple and sucking. The men are usually very surprised but the babies seem content.
The report names the Aka Pygmies, a hunter-gatherer tribe from Africas northern Congo, as the best fathers. Aka Pygmy fathers often calm their babies by giving them a nipple to suck, if the mother is not available. They beat Swedish fathers who are number one in the developed world, and who on average do 45% of parental childcare. Aka fathers hold or are within reach of their infants 47% of the time and do more in the way of childcare than fathers in any other society.
British fathers are the fourth-most involved in the west and do a third of parental childcare, according to the report, which is based on a review of existing research literature.
Of the 156 cultures studied for the report, only 20% promoted close relationships between men and infants. It estimates that worldwide, fathers contribute between a quarter and a third as much time to childcare as women. It also notes that active fathering is on the increase especially in Britain, where the amount of time that fathers spend with their children has risen eight times in the past 30 years.