A review of seven studies has concluded that “appropriate partner breastfeeding support is essential for breastfeeding” and that “breastfeeding programmes should consider the involvement of partners/fathers and their specific roles”.
Four of the studies reviewed found that providing encouragement to the mother increased initiation and the duration of breastfeeding, including exclusive breastfeeding. Another study (already reported on Family Included, Some kinds of support by fathers for breastfeeding may be counter-productive (Canada)) showed that greater sensitivity and responsiveness to the mother’s needs predicted longer duration of breastfeeding.
Other forms of support that were shown to be effective in two controlled clinical trials were assistance in preventing and managing breastfeeding difficulties, and helping with household and childcare tasks.
The seven studies were from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, Italy and Taiwan.
The review authors note a lack of high-quality population-based studies on the influence of partners on breastfeeding.
Ogbo FA et al (2020), Breastfeeding in the community – how can partners/fathers help? A systematic review, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17
Header photo: Yoshihide Nomura. Creative Commons.