"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Father’s support is vital to breastfeeding and protected sleeping of the infant

June 16, 2023 – Fathers have a significant influence on whether infants are breastfed and put to bed safely, based on a study published in Pediatricsthe journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study of 250 fathers in Georgia found that 95% of fathers who desired to breastfeed their child reported that their child had initiated breastfeeding, and 78% reported breastfeeding by eight weeks.

This is way higher than amongst fathers who had no opinion on breastfeeding. In this group, only 69% reported breastfeeding their child and 33% reported breastfeeding after 8 weeks.

According to the study, 99% of fathers put their infants to sleep. But only 16% of those fathers followed the three advisable practices: placing their infants on their backs, using an appropriate sleeping surface comparable to a crib or bassinet, and avoiding soft bedding comparable to blankets or stuffed animals.

According to the CDC, the three advisable practices may help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding the kid for no less than the primary six months of life.

“Our findings underscore that new fathers are an important target audience when it comes to promoting breastfeeding and safe infant sleep,” said the study's lead creator, Dr. John James Parker, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a Northwestern University press release.

“Many families do not reap the health benefits of breastfeeding because they lack the support needed for successful breastfeeding. Fathers need to be directly involved in discussions about breastfeeding, and doctors need to explain the important role fathers play in successful breastfeeding. In addition, fathers need to be counseled on all safe sleep practices for their infants.”

According to the study, black fathers are less more likely to put their babies to sleep on their backs and more more likely to use soft bedding than white fathers. Parker said the disparities needs to be addressed with public information campaigns and residential visiting programs for the black community.

Two to 6 weeks after the birth of their child, the fathers answered a questionnaire. The questionnaire was a companion document to the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, a long-term study collecting data on latest moms.