Paternal bond

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This article is about the paternal bond. For a definition of the word "paternal", see the Wiktionary entry paternal.
Father playing with his baby

A paternal bond refers to the relationship between a father and his child.[1] In the U.S., legal paternity is presumed for the husband of the mother unless a separate action is taken; an unmarried man may establish paternity by signing a voluntary recognition of paternity or by taking court action.[2] Paternity may also be established between a man and a younger person, commonly in adoption, without the two being biologically related.


The father of a child can develop the bond during the pregnancy of his partner, feeling attachment to the developing child. Research indicates that this may have some biological basis.[3] Statistics show that fathers' levels of testosterone tend to decline several months before the birth of the child. Since high testosterone levels seem to encourage more aggressive behaviour,[citation needed] low levels may enhance the ability to develop a new relationship bond (i.e. with the child).[4]

Fathers find many ways to strengthen the father-child bond with their children, such as soothing, consoling, feeding (expressed breast milk, infant formula, or baby food), changing diapers, bathing, dressing, playing, and cuddling. Carrying the infant in a sling or backpack or pushing him or her in a baby transport can build the bond, as can participating in the baby's bedtime routine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Early Childhood Longitudinal Study 2006. "Measuring Father Involvement in Young Children's Lives." National Center for Education Statistics. Fathers of U.S. children born in 2001.
  2. ^ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement. "Handbook on Child Support Enforcement." (Washington, DC: Author) [1]
  3. ^ Linda F. Palmer. "Bonding Matters: The Chemistry of Attachment." Attachment Parenting International News: Vol. 5, No. 2, 2002.
  4. ^ Douglas Carlton Abrams, "The Making of a Modern Dad." Psychology Today, Mar/Apr 2002.