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THANKS A LOT, DAD

"Bottoms up" to all you fathers out there who are taking a more active, although apparently limited, role raising the little ones.

It wasn't always this way.

Dad used to come home from work, hoist his dogs onto the couch, crack open a beer, read the paper and let mom contend with the brood of screaming, soiled rug-rats.

According to Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., which polled callers to one of its national hot lines, modern dads are on the road to domestication.

The survey found that 48 percent of the mothers calling reported their husbands helped provide overall care of their offspring. The company didn't specify what that means, but presumably it entails holding the precious bundle of joy and cooing to it.

It seems there is a point at which some men draw the line, however.

Only 32 percent of the new fathers regularly change diapers; 29 percent regularly put the baby to bed, and only 26 percent participate in evening feedings.

Only 16 percent either bathe the baby or do late-night feedings on a regular basis.

Well, gentlemen, at least it's a start.