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The Importance of Father Involvement in Breastfeeding

Updated: Feb 5

How Can Fathers Provide Breastfeeding Support?

Fathers’ perceptions and attitudes about breastfeeding may be among the most powerful influences on a mother’s choice of whether or not to breastfeed, the duration of breastfeeding, and whether to breastfeed exclusively. Similarly, providing breastfeeding support and helping mothers with a satisfying breastfeeding experience is important to men's views of their roles as fathers and can help them transition to parenting.

Fathers’ views are shaped by their own experiences and observations. When breastfeeding experiences are positive, this is generally seen as important, desirable, and healthy and natural for babies.

However, when fathers report seeing their partners struggle with breastfeeding, they often view breastfeeding as a potentially harmful practice for their families, not just for the mother’s and infant’s wellbeing. In these instances, they often view the use of infant formula as comparable to breastmilk and preferable to ongoing efforts to breastfeed. This shows that there is room for improvement in the care of women before and after birth to reduce breastfeeding problems, as well as for fathers to learn more about breastfeeding prior to the birth of their children.

Learning includes receiving information about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for infants and mothers, strategies for facilitating breastfeeding, the importance of skin-to-skin contact and bonding, and techniques to assess the wellbeing of their child so they can be reassured their child is getting enough food. Education and services about infant feeding should be delivered at a family level to parents, rather than primarily to mothers.

How Can Fathers Provide Breastfeeding Support?

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They’re born to get breastfed - how fathers view breastfeeding: a mixed method study, Emily Hansen, Leigh Tesch and Jennifer Ayton, June 2018

Fathers and breastfeeding: Attitudes, involvement and support, Hibah Maki A Al Namir, Anne-Marie Brady, Louise Gallagher, July 2017

Relationships between types of father breastfeeding support and breastfeeding outcomes, Lynn A. Rempel, John K Rempel and Katrina C.J. Moore, July, 2017

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Thank you for the resource! Is there a working link for "Breastfeeding Support"?

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