Fathers valued face-to-face conversation with breastfeeding supporters (Canada)

breastfeeding canada

A user satisfaction survey following a co-parenting breastfeeding support intervention in Canada has shown that proactive engagement with fathers, in particular face-to-face discussion with health professionals, is the most popular mode of delivery. In these discussions, fathers were spoken to specifically and were assumed to have responsibility for breastfeeding alongside the mother. Mothers also rated the face-to-face discussion as the most useful.

107 couples participated in a programme of breastfeeding promotion, organised by Jennifer Abbass-Dick of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Cindy-Lee Dennis of the University of Toronto.  The programme was built on four principles:

  • Ensure fathers are well supplied with practical information about how to support breastfeeding
  • A co-parenting approach, whereby parents are supported to work together as a team around breastfeeding
  • Evidence-based breastfeeding support
  • Use of diverse modes of delivery to cover a variety of user preferences

The intervention had seven parts, listed in the order that fathers rated them as the “most useful”:

  • An in-hospital educational session with a certified lactation consultant
  • An evidence based breastfeeding booklet ‘Breastfeeding Matters’, funded by the Ontario Government
  • A co-parenting workbook for parents to complete together
  • A DVD on co-parenting strategies that included visuals of fathers supporting breastfeeding
  • Website with detailed information on breastfeeding, information on co-parenting and positive father involvement that included links to additional online breastfeeding resources
  • Proactive e-mails by a lactation consultant sent to mothers and fathers at 1 and 3 weeks postpartum to provide anticipatory guidance regarding common breastfeeding issues experienced at this time and where in the intervention package relevant information could be located pertaining to these issues
  • A proactive telephone call from a lactation consultant at two weeks postpartum to answer any questions about the content of the intervention package.

All mothers and the majority of fathers (104) received at least one of the intervention components. The majority of the parents used the co-parent breastfeeding information and reported it was helpful.  Parents rated the printed materials  as more useful than the website, emails and phone calls.


Abbass-Dick J & Dennis C-L (2018), Maternal and paternal experiences and satisfaction with a co-parenting breastfeeding support intervention in Canada, Midwifery 56

Photo: danielpeinado.photo. Creative Commons.