Father support for breastfeeding mothers who plan to utilize childcare: A qualitative look at Mothers’ perspectives

Alexandra Lundquist, Brent A. McBride, Sharon M Donovan, Maris Wszalek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Breastfeeding exerts many health benefits for the infant and the benefit is affected by exclusivity and duration, however, most mothers in the U.S. breastfeed for a shorter duration than recommended. First-time mothers who return to work outside the home, utilize childcare, and pump to continue to provide human milk, all of which have been found to reduce breastfeeding duration individually, represent a subset of breastfeeding mothers facing several known barriers to breastfeeding continuation and at risk for early breastfeeding cessation. The aim of this study is to understand and describe the perceptions of first-time mothers with prenatal intentions to breastfeed and utilize childcare, of paternal support for the breastfeeding experience. A semi-structured interview guided data collection with 24 first-time breastfeeding mothers and responses were analyzed using thematic analysis. Two main themes from mothers' experiences highlight the perceptions of first-time mothers, who had prenatal intentions to breastfeed and utilize childcare, were shaped by the actions, behaviors, and beliefs of their partners throughout the breastfeeding process, as well as illustrate both mothers and fathers lack knowledge of how to optimally involve fathers in breastfeeding. Our findings extend evidence for two existing models of father support to promote breastfeeding as relevant to mothers who return to work outside the home and utilize childcare, and additionally identify an area of support not included in either model. Early and improved education that situates breastfeeding within the co-parenting relationship and includes paternal support for pumping has the potential to improve mothers' breastfeeding experience and breastfeeding duration through mothers' return to work and infants’ transition to childcare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105854
JournalAppetite
Volume169
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Keywords

  • Child care
  • Family
  • Nutrition
  • Parents and parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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