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30.06.2018 | Ausgabe 11/2018

Maternal and Child Health Journal 11/2018

When Fathers are Perceived to Share in the Maternal Decision to Breastfeed: Outcomes from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II

Zeitschrift:
Maternal and Child Health Journal > Ausgabe 11/2018
Autoren:
Sarah Wang, Sylvia Guendelman, Kim Harley, Brenda Eskenazi

Abstract

Objectives The present study investigates the influence of joint feeding preferences of both the mother and father on initiation and duration of breastfeeding. Methods Data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II was analyzed. Female participants in a national consumer opinion panel were followed from pregnancy through 1 year postpartum, and were asked about infant feeding practices. We examined the association between maternal prenatal perception of the expectant father’s breastfeeding preferences and breastfeeding outcomes (initiation, duration of exclusive breastfeeding and any breastfeeding) and whether concordance between the parents’ infant feeding preferences influenced breastfeeding. Results Mothers who perceived that the father preferred exclusive breastfeeding (vs. no preference) were more likely to initiate breastfeeding [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.9; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0–3.7], and they had a lower hazard of stopping exclusive and any breastfeeding at any given time [exclusive breastfeeding: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 0.8; 95% CI 0.6–0.9; any breastfeeding: aHR = 0.6; 95% CI 0.5–0.7]. When both the mother and the father preferred exclusive breastfeeding, the hazard of breastfeeding cessation at any given time was lowest (exclusive breastfeeding: aHR = 0.4; 95% CI 0.3–0.5; any breastfeeding: aHR = 0.4; 95% CI 0.3–0.5). The risk of breastfeeding cessation remained lower even when only the father preferred exclusive breastfeeding. Conclusions for Practice Mothers tend to breastfeed for a longer duration when they perceive that the expectant father prefers exclusive breastfeeding and, even more so, when both parental preferences for exclusive breastfeeding concur. Efforts are needed to involve expectant fathers in breastfeeding decision-making and education to achieve breastfeeding success.

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