How Fatherhood Changes You

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We've all heard about the maternal instinct, but let's give dad some credit too. Humans are a rare species that involves the fathers in parenthood. Only 6 percent of mammals do this. Dads tend to have the same responsibilities as moms when it comes to raising their babies, with the exception of nursing. Their hormones and brains also change when they enter fatherhood. See? It wasn't just sympathy weight that your husband gained when you were pregnant. His hormones were on a roller coaster too. Here are 3 ways a father's brain is affected by fatherhood.

They Become Rewired

Just like mothers' brains, fathers' brains become restructured after they have babies. This helps them respond better to infants' cues and plan their parenting strategies. This restructuring happens across the board for both parents, indicating that there's a general brain structure necessary to be an adequate parent. Animal studies show that male parents actually develop new brain cells in the olfactory regions of the brain. This can help men bond with their babies. They also experience new neurons in the areas of the brain responsible for navigation and memory.

Their Hormones Change

Being around the pregnant mom and new baby changes a man's hormones. Their estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin levels increase, and their testosterone levels may decrease, making them less aggressive and more likely to bond with their children.

They Recognize Their Babies' Cries

One study shows that fathers are just as good as mothers at recognizing their babies' cries. Before the study was conducted, researchers thought that mothers were better at picking up their own child's distress. Now they see that it's not true.

This Father's Day, show dad some gratitude. Celebrate dad by spending the day with him or by giving him a few hours to do something that he loves.

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