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Pediatricians told to make room for daddy

Reuters, May 3, 2004

CHICAGO, May 3 (Reuters) - The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday advised its members to adjust their office hours and make other changes to encourage fathers to become Read More ..volved in their children's health care.

The group said in a new policy statement that Read More ..thers are staying home with their children as mothers choose to work, and that working fathers in the United States have increased the amount of time they spend with children in the last decade.

U.S. Census figures also indicate there were 4.3 million father-only households in 2000, it said.

The policy statement, published in the May issue of the academy's journal "Pediatrics," suggested expanded office hours to accommodate working schedules of all parents; encouraging fathers to come in for at least one visit during an infant's first two months of life; and suggested doctors go out of the way to welcome fathers to appointments and express appreciation for their presence.

The statement also said fathers should be reminded to try to give mothers some time alone and to be aware of signs of postpartum depression in new mothers.

The academy also reminded doctors that fathers are not necessarily biological, and that they may be a grand father, stepfather, foster father, coparent in a gay relationship or other father figure.