The importance of the fathers' support for breast-feeding

Research on breast-feeding support has consistently identified fathers as an important source of social support in the decision to breast-feed and in its implementation. AIMS: To analyze the influence of fathers on the mothers' decision to breast-feed and, by fathers’ attitudes according to breast-feeding (in terms of examinees’ responses), to analyze the fathers’ influence on the duration of breast-feeding. STUDY POPULATION AND METHODS: The research was carried out in three general paediatrics’ offices in Croatian towns: [ibenik, Vara`din and Zagreb. Examinees were mothers of pre-schoolers older than one year, and a total of 300 mothers were included with questionnaires. RESULTS: In all three centres the strongest influence on the mothers' decision to breast-feed was from the mass media. The fathers' influence is ranked pretty low-from 5th to 7th place. Regarding the fathers' attitude to breastfeeding, in all three centres the majority of fathers (from 81.5% to 94%) support their wives for breast-feeding. In order to find out about the dynamics of the fathers' influence on breast-feeding, we compared the duration of breast-feeding of the older (previous) and the youngest child in the family in view of the fathers' attitude to breast-feeding. Mothers who have the fathers' support for breast-feeding breast-feed their child longer than mothers who do not have that kind of support. The fathers' influence is more significant with the older child (c˛=4.22, p=0.0399) than the younger one (c˛=3.05, p=0.081). CONCLUSION: Interventions by health care providers aimed at increasing the incidence and duration of breast-feeding, when a mother is in a couple, should include the father.
Category: Child protection
Volume: Vol. 45, No 4, october - december 2001
Authors: M. Batinica, J. Grgurić, D. Lipovac, V. Vinceković, R. Batinica, E. Turčinov
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