Preliminary research suggests that fathers of low-income children support breastfeeding but are unsure how to influence or help their child's mother (their partner) with breastfeeding, according to new research presented Oct. 17 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.
The rate of breastfeeding among low-income, inner-city African-American mothers "is a health disparity now receiving national attention," according to the abstract, "Low-Income Inner-City Fathers and Breastfeeding: Where's the Program for Us?"
Researchers conducted two focus groups each comprising five men: two of the participants were expecting a child, and eight were current fathers. A moderator sought the men's views on breastfeeding and "father engagement programs" designed to use father/partner encouragement to promote breastfeeding.
Most of the participants had a positive view of breastfeeding and its potential health and emotional benefits for their child. However, many lacked specific knowledge about breastfeeding, perceived themselves as having limited influence on the mother's choice to breastfeed, and reported a lack of relevant programs for fathers and partners.
"The views and needs of fathers and partners of low-income, inner-city expectant women need attention," said lead study author Lydia Furman¸ MD, of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. "The challenge at hand is how to reach, recruit and engage these men in breastfeeding promotion."
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