Breastfeeding Campaign for Males
There have been many studies done to show the effect of the father’s support in breastfeeding. The Fathers Infant Feeding Initiative study  showed that there was an increase in breastfeeding rates amongst an intervention group where the fathers were educated and learned to support the mothers. There have also been studies that observes the outlook on breastfeeding from both the mother and father. Something that both parents were commonly concerned about were feeding in public locations.  This concern was also one of the top reasons why mothers do not breastfeed because they do not have the privacy and support in those public places. One way to decrease this discomfort is to get male partners more involved in support to take away the negative connotations regarding feeding in the public. This in turn, will also decrease the use of formula when considering some of the reasons why mothers resort back to using that source of feeding. Increases amongst smaller groups of people may not seem impactful but they are still contributions to the public health objective of increasing breastfeeding initiatives.
In the state of Missouri, there has been a decrease in the rates of women that breastfeed their children. During 2007-2008, 27.7% of mothers in Missouri had never breastfed their children. Approximately 38% of women who did initiate breastfeeding stopped prior to two months. Further analyzing these statistics, Missouri has not reached the target of breastfeeding initiation. Missouri is approximately 10% from HP2020’s objective of 18.1% or fewer of mothers who have never breastfed. Lack of breastfeeding initiation can lean to a potential $3.6 billion increase in health care costs in United States and an increase in loss of income due to low productivity. Though there are other sources of feeding, breastfeeding is the most beneficial.
According to Rempel, the primary role of the father is to become educated on breastfeeding so that they can encourage the mother and assist in the feeding. Some ways the father can get involved includes bottle feeding the baby with breast milk, share housework and other childcare, strive to have a father-infant bond, and nurture the mother and child. These are all ways that the male partner can help increase breastfeeding initiative rates and decrease negative connotations. The key actions are to become educated, support and show value to the benefit of breastfeeding, and stay involved.
“Every Man Supports the Boob!”
Edited by NeMo Morris
- Maycock, B., Binns, C. W., Dhaliwal, S., Tohotoa, J., Hauck, Y., Burns, S., & Howat, P. (2013, November). Education and Support for Fathers Improves Breastfeeding Rates [Abstract]. Journal of Human Lactation, 29(4), 484-490. doi:10.1177/0890334413484387
- Avery, A. B., & Magnus, J. H. (2011, May). Expectant Fathers’ and Mothers’ Perceptions of Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding: A Focus Group Study in Three US Cities [Abstract]. Journal of Human Lactation, 27(2), 147-154. doi:10.1177/0890334410395753
- Rempel, L. A., & Rempel, J. K. (2011, May). The Breastfeeding Team: The Role of Involved Fathers in the Breastfeeding Family [Abstract]. Journal of Human Lactation, 27(2), 115-121. doi:10.1177/0890334410390045