Home > Switzerland > Dads and Breastfeeding

10/11/2023

Dads do not breastfeed, yet their presence is very important from the beginning of the child’s life. Their role is different from the mother’s, it is complementary. The involvement and support of the father in the decision to breastfeed is crucial. Studies confirm this.

Leaflets by Breastfeeding Promotion Switzerland

See the leaflets and other documents on the page for fathers on the website of Breastfeeding Promotion Switzerland.

The role of Fathers during breastfeeding

Key findings: participating fathers perceived their role as much more complex than the limited role of breastfeeding facilitator that is usually attributed to them. Fathers saw themselves as stakeholders in decision-making relating to how their child was fed and they reacted to the imbalance created by breastfeeding. Their involvement occurred at several levels: that of their child, their spouse, and their family. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29272696/

Dads – complementary mission

An article by Ingrid Bayot, midwife, D.U. lactation, perinatal trainer, author and speaker. http://www.ingridbayot.com/

The father influences the decision to breastfeed

A number of studies have shown that fathers influence mothers’ decisions to initiate and/or maintain breastfeeding (for a review, see Scott et al, 2001). In dissecting this research, support from the child’s father through active participation in the decision to breastfeed, as well as a positive attitude on his part and knowledge of the benefits of breastfeeding, has been found to have a strong influence on breastfeeding initiation and duration (Swanson & Power, 2005; Arora et al, 2000; Bromberg & Darby, 1997). Low-income women, in particular, suggest that male support is crucial to their decision to breastfeed (Schmidt & Sigman-Grant, 2000).

It should be noted that mothers’ perceptions of their partners’ attitudes toward breastfeeding – on which researchers often rely – may not be accurate: when men are directly interviewed, their attitudes may be more positive than those expected and reported by their partners (Freed et al, 1993). Fathers’ actual beliefs about breastfeeding and their level of knowledge and understanding are important factors.

Source: Fatherhood Institute Research Summary: Fathers and Breastfeeding http://www.fatherhoodinstitute.org/2007/fatherhood-institute-research-summary-fathers-and-breastfeeding/

Fathers’ own stories

WBTi France made an appeal on Facebook in 2018 to solicit testimonials from fathers about breastfeeding. It collected and compiled many very inspiring texts (in French).

Poster 2017 – importance of the father

Birth of the father

Itis not always easy to become a father. The man also passes by a phase of gestation and birth to become a father! He must learn to identify his feelings, talk about his doubts and express his expectations.

Under the aegis of the Haute Ecole de Santé Vaud (HESAV) in collaboration with männer.ch, the project consists of the creation of 5 video films on the theme of the place and role of future fathers at the time of the arrival of a child in the couple. What are the experiences of a man who becomes a father? The ordeal of childbirth, his participation from the point of view of health care professionals, breastfeeding and parenthood are all themes that are addressed. Testimonials of future fathers are enriched by comments from professionals in the field of perinatal care and complemented by scientific contributions.

Other resources

References

  • Arora, S., McJunkin, C., Wehrer, J., & Kuhn, P. (2000). Major factors influencing breastfeeding rates: mother’s perception of father’s attitude and milk supply. Pediatrics, 106(5). Available at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/106/5/e67.
  • Bromberg, B-YN., & Darby, L. (1997). Fathers and breastfeeding: a review of the literature. Journal of Human Lactation, (13), 45–50.
  • Freed, G.L., Fraley, J.K., & Schanler, R.J. (1993). Accuracy of expectant mothers’ predictions of fathers’ attitudes regarding breast-feeding. Journal of Family Practice, 37(2), 148-152.
  • Schmidt, M. M., & Sigman-Grant, M. (2000). Perspectives of low-income fathers’ support of breastfeeding: an exploratory study. Journal of Nutrition Education, 32(1), 31-37.
  • Scott, J.A., Landers, J., Hughes, R., & Binns, C.W. (2001). Factors associated with the initiation and duration of breast feedinbg amongst two populations of Australian women. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, 37, 254-261.
  • Swanson, V., & Power, K.G. (2005). Initiation and continuation of breastfeeding: theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 50(3), 272-282.