Family influences on breastfeeding (international)


A review of research has shown that families, particularly fathers, have an influence on breastfeeding – bonding/attachment, knowledge about breastfeeding, and feeding in public. Influences can be both supportive and unsupportive of breastfeeding. The reviewers conclude that frontline staff should extend support to the mother’s significant others. “Through innovations in practice delivery, engaging women and their families in service provision will ensure resources are targeted effectively.”

17 studies were included in the review, with a combined sample of 4672 mothers. The reviewers looked at four categories of influence: (1) individual; (2) micro system – family, relgion, peers; (3) exosystem – community, mass media, heath agencies; and (4) macro system – economics,, culture, politics, society, nationality.

Adolescent mothers are influenced in a particular way by peer networks, where negative perceptions of breastfeeding can persist.


Roll CL & Cheater F (2016), Expectant parents’ views of factors influencing infant feeding decisions in the antenatal period: A systematic review, International Journal of Nursing Studies 60

Header photo: Matt. Creative Commons.