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Perceived Roles of Fathers in the Promotion, Support and Protection of Breastfeeding

TL;DR: It is shown that fathers perceive breastfeeding to be the optimum feeding choice for the baby and beneficial to the mother and that healthcare providers create an environment that is conducive to the participation of fathers in the topic of infant feeding.
Abstract: Fathers of young infants have a crucial role to play in the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding as women often face many challenges during the post-partum period. The World Health Organization recommends paying particular attention to participation by the male partners in child and maternal health as they also have responsibilities and roles to play in nurturing their young ones and supporting their families. The focus of this research was to explore and to describe the perceived roles of fathers in the support, protection and promotion of breastfeeding. This study adopted a qualitative method using an explorative and descriptive design, and the sample included twelve fathers of infants aged less than six months at Schoonoord Village, Sekhukhune District, Limpopo province, South Africa. Using in-depth individual unstructured interviews, data were collected until data saturation was attained and analysed using Tesch’s open-coding method. The findings show that fathers perceive breastfeeding to be the optimum feeding choice for the baby and beneficial to the mother. Provision of emotional and financial support to the women, protection of the mother and the baby, motivation and assistance in seeking healthcare emerged as the key roles of fathers during the breastfeeding period. This study recommends that fathers be involved in breastfeeding counselling and that healthcare providers create an environment that is conducive to the participation of fathers in the topic of infant feeding.

Summary (5 min read)

Problem Statement

  • The National Infant and Young Child Feeding.
  • Policy does not mention the contribution of fathers in supporting and promoting breastfeeding.
  • The rate of breastfeeding in South Africa remains below the target level of 100 per cent coverage (Du Plessis et al. 2016) and the lack of fathers’ or family involvement and pressures has been reported as a contributory factor to low breastfeeding rates (Goosen, McLachlan, and Schübl 2014, 26; Jama et al. 2017, 9).
  • The few studies that are available have been conducted in developed countries and there is no mention of the involvement of fathers in deep rural areas where cultural stereotypes still exist.

Purpose and Objectives of the Study

  • The purpose of this study was to explore and to describe the perceived roles of fathers in the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding.
  • The objectives of the study were the: exploration and description of the perceptions of fathers towards breastfeeding, and exploration and description of the perceived roles of fathers regarding breastfeeding support, protection and promotion.

Research Design

  • A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design was used.
  • This helped the researchers to understand the phenomenon from the participants’ viewpoint as it materialises (Brink, Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 136).
  • It also facilitated data gathering on the perceived roles of fathers in the support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding (Rubin and Babbie 2007, 416).
  • The researcher conducted individual interviews with each participant at a convenient venue and time over a period of five weeks between August and September 2017.

Study Population and Sample

  • The study population included all male partners of mothers of infants who were less than six months at Schoonoord Village, Limpopo province.
  • Twelve participants were selected from the study population.
  • A purposive sampling technique was used to select the participants based on the fact that their partners were still breastfeeding their infants.
  • The participants were recruited through their female partners who were attending the breastfeeding support group at Schoonoord Village.
  • The breastfeeding support group was initiated by the first author in 2015 after the local facility where he worked was piloted as the ideal clinic and prepared for accreditation as a mother-baby friendly facility.

Data Collection

  • Unstructured individual interviews were conducted to collect data from the 12 participants until data saturation was reached.
  • Further investigation following this question sought clarity and added explanations as participants responded to the central issue.
  • The researcher spent time with the participants and observed all the non-verbal responses that could indicate irritability, stress or discomfort and kept personal notes including his reflections and experience during the interview process (Brink, Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 150; Rubin and Babbie 2007, 436).
  • Interviews were conducted in Sepedi and transcribed verbatim and later translated to English for analysis.

Data Analysis

  • Tesch’s open-coding method was used to analyse the data.
  • The interviews were transcribed verbatim and organised into themes and sub-themes.
  • An independent coder verified the results of the open coding and grammar was not changed to avoid losing any information.
  • A literature control was presented after data collection and analysis as it formed a basis for comparing and contrasting the findings of the study (Creswell 2007, 69).

Trustworthiness

  • Trustworthiness was maintained throughout this study by using Guba’s model (Brink, Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 91; Creswell 2009).
  • Credibility was established by the prolonged engagement during which the interviewer spent more time with the participants to establish rapport and to build a relationship based on trust.
  • Transferability was established through a complete description of the study methodology and the accompanying literature control maintained clarity.

Ethical Considerations

  • The Research Ethics Committee of the University of Venda granted ethical approval for this study, and permission to conduct this study was sought from the provincial department of health research committee and the traditional kraal of the village where the data were collected.
  • Verbal informed consent was obtained from all the male partners participating in this study.
  • Privacy and confidentiality were ensured by conducting interviews with the participants in their houses.
  • The researchers also advised participants that field notes would be taken and a voice recorder used during interviews to capture the proceedings of interview sessions.
  • Participants were assigned codes and their real names were not used to ensure confidentiality and anonymity.

Results and Discussion

  • Four participants were teenage fathers who were not married; eight were adults and were married.
  • All participants communicated and expressed themselves well in the Sepedi language.
  • Two sub-themes arose during the data analysis under this theme, namely the perception that breastfeeding is the best choice for the baby, and the advantages and benefits of breastfeeding.
  • This is what participants had to say: Breastfeeding has many advantages.

Emotional Support

  • The participants indicated that their chief role was to provide emotional support to their female partners who were breastfeeding as it was not always easy.
  • Many participants further argued that females’ experience a lot of emotional changes and are sometimes feeling depressed, hence their role is mostly to provide emotional support during difficult times.
  • My wife experienced a lot of stress and she was forever sad and crying because she did not know whether to continue breastfeeding or not and I made sure that I support her whenever she feels down.
  • I have to make her happy and love her always.
  • A study in Ireland reported that many women avoided and discontinued breastfeeding owing to technical difficulties and inadequate practical and emotional support (Bennett, McCartney, and Kearney 2016, 176).

Financial Support

  • The participants also reported that provision of financial support to women was another key role as a lack of financial support to women during breastfeeding can lead to early weaning of the baby as women would want to seek employment to sustain their living.
  • The participants in this study strongly believed that a man is obliged to support his partner financially so that she does not suffer or compromise breastfeeding.
  • One participant further highlighted that women need money to buy food and toiletries from their male partners.
  • They further highlighted that their role is also to protect the women against formula manufacturers who try to convince them to use formula feeding.

Protection against Mixed Feeding

  • Protection of the child from mixed feeding and temptation of mothers to mix-feed the child was highlighted as the role of male partners in the promotion of breastfeeding.
  • Male partners were very negative about mixed feeding and they reported that it is their role to protect the child and the mother from such practices.
  • My major role is to protect my child from mixed feeding because I was told in the clinic that it does not provide good nutrition than the breast.
  • I need to make sure that my wife does not get tempted from such practices.
  • A recent study in Limpopo found that the lack of support from spouses and family was reported as a contributing factor to the mixed-feeding temptation (Mgolozeli and Shilubane 2015, 91).

Protection against Formula Manufacturers

  • The participants reported that they have a role to protect their female partners from formula manufactures who want to convince and encourage them to use formula feeding.
  • This is supported by the following statements: I need to make sure that my wife does not get tempted to accept any gift from these formula people because sometimes they just give formula milk for free and their wives would think it’s a good thing.
  • These guys like to visit their homes whenever they hear that there is a small baby and they would come and bribe their wives to stop breastfeeding, so it is my responsibility as the head of the house to protect my wife and baby from those people.
  • Harwood’s (2011) study among expectant fathers revealed that they perceived their role as protection against formula milk advisers and manufacturers as fundamental in promoting breastfeeding.

Assistance and Participation in Child Healthcare Services

  • The participants highlighted that as fathers of the breastfed infants, they need to assist their female partners in seeking child healthcare services and participate in the process.
  • The participants further highlighted that their role is to be involved in HIV counselling and testing for both the mother and the baby.
  • They demonstrated good insight into the EMTCT programmes and they reported that since they loved their children and wives, they did not see any reason why they should be left out.
  • This differs from Kidero’s (2014, 34) study among male partners in Machakos, Kenya, where they found that many male partners were reluctant to participate in EMTCT programmes as they believed that payment for such services was their only role.
  • Alternatively, this study could agree with Cohen, Lange, and Slusser (2002, 64) who stated that fathers can be enabled to support their partners when they are equipped with breastfeeding knowledge.

Breastfeeding

  • It came to light during discussions with the participants that even though they were positive about breastfeeding, they also experienced some hindrances.
  • Cultural beliefs such as the belief that breastfeeding is a woman’s issue and discrimination of a man who supports and promote breastfeeding were also reported as factors that discouraged men to participate in breastfeeding.
  • The participants revealed that healthcare workers in clinics and hospitals do not accommodate them when they counsel women on infant feeding and that they felt ignored and neglected.
  • This is supported by the following statements:.
  • It is reported in many studies that men are often reluctant to participate in child and maternal health issues (Dumbaugh et al.

Limitation

  • This study focused on fathers of infants less than six months old from one village in the Limpopo province.
  • Their perceived roles in the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding may be different from those in other regions, therefore, the findings of this study cannot be generalised to other groups.

Recommendations

  • This study recommends that male partner involvement in the promotion of infant and young child feeding be strengthened.
  • All health facilities providing child and maternal healthcare should create an environment that is conducive to the involvement of fathers in breastfeeding.
  • An open community-centred approach for breastfeeding should be initiated so that all the relevant stakeholders can take part.
  • The importance of participation by fathers in breastfeeding should be emphasised throughout the pregnancy, labour and during the early days of infant life, and women should be encouraged to invite their male partners to participate in breastfeeding counselling sessions.
  • This study further calls for the inclusion of fathers or male partners in child and maternal health issues, and that the male-partner involvement be included in the NIYCF Policy.

Conclusion

  • This study investigated the perceived roles of fathers in the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding at the Schoonoord Village in the Limpopo province.
  • It is well documented in literature that men are reluctant to participate in healthcare services with their partners.
  • Their role of seeking healthcare includes participation in child healthcare services and getting involved in PMTCT programmes.
  • They also experienced some hindrances in playing their role to support, protect and promote breastfeeding.
  • This study adds value to the existing body of knowledge because men are well known as people who are reluctant to play a role in breastfeeding promotion.

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Article
Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery
https://doi.org/10.25159/2520-5293/4060
https://upjournals.co.za/index.php/AJNM/index
ISSN 2520-5293 (Online)
Volume 20 | Number 2 | 2018 | #4060 | 19 pages
© Unisa Press 2018
Perceived Roles of Fathers in the Promotion, Support
and Protection of Breastfeeding
Siyabulela E. Mgolozeli
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1271-0021
University of Pretoria, South Africa
siyabulela.mgolozeli@up.ac.za
Hilda N. Shilubane
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6121-0488
University of Venda, South Africa
Lunic B. Khoza
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1368-8759
University of Venda, South Africa
Cebisa N. Nesamvuni
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4660-2248
University of Venda, South Africa
Abstract
Fathers of young infants have a crucial role to play in the promotion, support
and protection of breastfeeding as women often face many challenges during
the post-partum period. The World Health Organization recommends paying
particular attention to participation by the male partners in child and maternal
health as they also have responsibilities and roles to play in nurturing their
young ones and supporting their families. The focus of this research was to
explore and to describe the perceived roles of fathers in the support, protection
and promotion of breastfeeding. This study adopted a qualitative method using
an explorative and descriptive design, and the sample included twelve fathers
of infants aged less than six months at Schoonoord Village, Sekhukhune
District, Limpopo province, South Africa. Using in-depth individual
unstructured interviews, data were collected until data saturation was attained
and analysed using Tesch’s open-coding method. The findings show that fathers
perceive breastfeeding to be the optimum feeding choice for the baby and
beneficial to the mother. Provision of emotional and financial support to the
women, protection of the mother and the baby, motivation and assistance in
seeking healthcare emerged as the key roles of fathers during the breastfeeding
period. This study recommends that fathers be involved in breastfeeding
counselling and that healthcare providers create an environment that is
conducive to the participation of fathers in the topic of infant feeding.
Keywords: fathers; roles; promotion; support; protection; breastfeeding

2
Introduction and Background
The World Health Organization (WHO 2010, 3) and United Children’s Fund (UNICEF
2010) recommends that all babies less than six months be exclusively breastfed and that
this continue for up to two years with complementary feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding
refers to giving the child only breast milk without feeding any solid food or semi-solid
food and drinks, and using medication only as prescribed by a health professional (WHO
2010, 6). Breastfeeding has many health and economic benefits for both the mother and
the baby (Heymann, Raub, and Earle 2013, 398). Breastfeeding is reported as the only
solution to preventing the outbreak of diarrheal infections that contribute to the high
infant mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa (Victor et al. 2013, 2). It also plays a crucial
role in the prevention of post-partum haemorrhage during the postnatal period as an
infant feeding from the breast stimulates oxytocin secretion which aids in uterine
involution (Cohain 2010, 348).
Furthermore, breastfeeding creates a bond between the mother and the baby (Liu,
Leung, and Yang 2013, 76) and is a recognised cost-effective infant feeding option ideal
for all babies irrespective of the socio-economic status of the mother (Abdel-Hady,
Eladawi, and El-Gilany 2013, 76). With the reported benefits of breastfeeding for both
the mother and the baby, the WHO recommends that mothers receive counselling and
ongoing support for exclusive breastfeeding at each postnatal contact (WHO 2014, 3).
Mothers regard high-quality professional support and guidance as the most important
element for successful breastfeeding (Hauck et al. 2011, 55). However, there are other
available options such as getting the spouses, family and community involved in
supporting and promoting breastfeeding.
Many recently conducted international studies have highlighted the need for the
integration of fathers in breastfeeding support and promotion (Chezem 2012, 158;
Goosen, McLachlan, and Schübl 2014, 20; Sherriff and Hall 2011, 472). The
participation of fathers in breastfeeding is associated with a positive impact on the
woman’s decision to breastfeed and to maintain breastfeeding (Susin and Giugliani
2008, 386). The role of fathers and male partners in breastfeeding support and
promotion is emphasised as crucial to raising breastfeeding rates in developed and
developing countries (Brown, Raynor, and Lee 2011, 45). However, fathers often feel
unprepared for the challenges breastfeeding can bring (Sherriff and Hall 2011, 472)
owing to the fact that they often have feelings of helplessness and exclusion from the
breastfeeding process (Chezem 2012, 158; De Montigny and Lacharité 2004, 337).
Given the importance of fathers’ involvement in supporting mothers to breastfeed, there
is little consideration of fathers role in supporting and promoting breastfeeding.
Research in Western countries suggests that fathers are interested in breastfeeding and
want to be involved (Sherriff and Hall 2011, 473) and support the mother throughout
the breastfeeding period (Harwood 2011, 8; Stremler and Lovera 2004). Although this
has occurred in some regions, most fathers report being poorly informed about the

3
benefits of breastfeeding, and identify barriers such as centralising breastfeeding for
women only and refusal to allow fathers to attend breastfeeding counselling sessions
(Cohen, Lange, and Slusser 2002, 61; Nkuoh et al. 2010). It is reported that fathers in
Western cultures do not support mothers breastfeeding in public, feel jealous of the
bonding of the mother with the baby and regard the breast as a sexual object (Magnusson
et al. 2017, 162).
Frequently men discourage breastfeeding owing to the perception that the breast is for
sexual purposes only and force the woman to bottle-feed or formula-feed the baby
(Rempel, Rempel, and Moore 2017). Some studies have confirmed that fathers often
devalue their role in promoting and supporting breastfeeding as they perceive it to be a
woman’s issue and her decision (Harwood 2011, 33). Culture and community
stereotypes are also factors contributing to the lack of fathers’ involvement in child and
maternal care (Matseke et al. 2017, 16; Nesane, Maputle, and Shilubane 2016, 4). The
South African National Strategic Plan for Human Immune Virus, Sexual Transmitted
Infections and Tuberculosis calls for the need to strengthen these programmes by
engaging fathers (Department of Health 2011). The global steps for successful
breastfeeding recommend the involvement of fathers in supporting breastfeeding (WHO
2009; Center for Disease Control Prevention 2011, 1020).
Problem Statement
Although other programmes such as the prevention of mother-to-child transmission
(PMTCT) acknowledge the need for involvement of fathers, the National Infant and
Young Child Feeding (NIYCF) Policy does not mention the contribution of fathers in
supporting and promoting breastfeeding. This could be an additional factor related to
the absence of fathers’ involvement in breastfeeding. The rate of breastfeeding in South
Africa remains below the target level of 100 per cent coverage (Du Plessis et al. 2016)
and the lack of fathersor family involvement and pressures has been reported as a
contributory factor to low breastfeeding rates (Goosen, McLachlan, and Schübl
2014, 26; Jama et al. 2017, 9). There is a paucity of research conducted on the roles of
fathers in breastfeeding promotion, support and protection. The few studies that are
available have been conducted in developed countries and there is no mention of the
involvement of fathers in deep rural areas where cultural stereotypes still exist.
Schoonoord Village, which is deep rural”, is not an exception as breastfeeding rates
are very low and fathers’ involvement in breastfeeding remains a significant challenge
owing to cultural stereotypes. The researcher answered the following research question:
What are the fathers’ perceptions of breastfeeding and perceived roles in
breastfeeding support, protection and promotion?

4
Purpose and Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study was to explore and to describe the perceived roles of fathers
in the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding. The objectives of the study
were the:
exploration and description of the perceptions of fathers towards breastfeeding,
and
exploration and description of the perceived roles of fathers regarding
breastfeeding support, protection and promotion.
Research Methodology
Research Design
A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design was used. This
helped the researchers to understand the phenomenon from the participants’ viewpoint
as it materialises (Brink, Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 136). It also facilitated
data gathering on the perceived roles of fathers in the support, promotion and protection
of breastfeeding (Rubin and Babbie 2007, 416). The researcher conducted individual
interviews with each participant at a convenient venue and time over a period of five
weeks between August and September 2017.
Study Population and Sample
The study population included all male partners of mothers of infants who were less
than six months at Schoonoord Village, Limpopo province. Twelve participants were
selected from the study population. A purposive sampling technique was used to select
the participants based on the fact that their partners were still breastfeeding their infants.
The participants were recruited through their female partners who were attending the
breastfeeding support group at Schoonoord Village. The breastfeeding support group
was initiated by the first author in 2015 after the local facility where he worked was
piloted as the ideal clinic and prepared for accreditation as a mother-baby friendly
facility.
Data Collection
Unstructured individual interviews were conducted to collect data from the 12
participants until data saturation was reached. The main question asked during the
interviews was: “Can you explain to me in detail your perceptions about breastfeeding
and your role in the support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding?” Further
investigation following this question sought clarity and added explanations as
participants responded to the central issue. The researcher spent time with the
participants and observed all the non-verbal responses that could indicate irritability,
stress or discomfort and kept personal notes including his reflections and experience
during the interview process (Brink, Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 150; Rubin

5
and Babbie 2007, 436). Interviews were conducted in Sepedi and transcribed verbatim
and later translated to English for analysis.
Data Analysis
Teschs open-coding method was used to analyse the data. The interviews were
transcribed verbatim and organised into themes and sub-themes. An independent coder
verified the results of the open coding and grammar was not changed to avoid losing
any information. A literature control was presented after data collection and analysis as
it formed a basis for comparing and contrasting the findings of the study (Creswell
2007, 69).
Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness was maintained throughout this study by using Guba’s model (Brink,
Van der Walt, and Van Rensburg 2012, 91; Creswell 2009). Credibility was established
by the prolonged engagement during which the interviewer spent more time with the
participants to establish rapport and to build a relationship based on trust. A voice
recorder was also used. Transferability was established through a complete description
of the study methodology and the accompanying literature control maintained clarity.
Ethical Considerations
The Research Ethics Committee of the University of Venda granted ethical approval for
this study, and permission to conduct this study was sought from the provincial
department of health research committee and the traditional kraal of the village where
the data were collected. Verbal informed consent was obtained from all the male
partners participating in this study. Privacy and confidentiality were ensured by
conducting interviews with the participants in their houses. The researcher explained to
the participants that their information would not be shared with anyone and informed
them that they would not be forced to answer if they felt that the questions violated their
right to confidentiality. The researchers also advised participants that field notes would
be taken and a voice recorder used during interviews to capture the proceedings of
interview sessions. Participants were assigned codes and their real names were not used
to ensure confidentiality and anonymity.
Results and Discussion
The participants’ ages ranged between 19 to 39 years. Four participants were teenage
fathers who were not married; eight were adults and were married. All males who
participated in this study were fathers of infants less than six months who were
breastfed. All participants communicated and expressed themselves well in the Sepedi
language. Three main themes emanated from the data analysis, namely perceptions
about breastfeeding, perceived roles of fathers in breastfeeding, and perceived
hindrances to the roles of fathers in breastfeeding. These are listed in Table 1.

Citations
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a review aimed to synthesize qualitative evidence of views and experiences of partners and other family members who provided breastfeeding support for a relative, using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JB...
Abstract: This review aimed to synthesize qualitative evidence of views and experiences of partners and other family members who provided breastfeeding support for a relative. The Joanna Briggs Institute (JB...

11 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In South Africa, interventions aimed at establishing healthier appetites and eating behaviours in early life should focus on fostering maternal self-efficacy around exclusive breast-feeding and engaging family members to promote supportive household and community structures around infant feeding.
Abstract: Objective: To (i) describe the infant feeding practices of South African women living in Soweto and (ii) understand from the mothers’ perspective what influences feeding practices. Design: Semi-structured focus group discussions (FGD) and in-depth interviews (IDI) were conducted, and data were analysed using thematic analysis. Setting: Soweto, South Africa. Participants: Nineteen mothers were stratified into three FGD according to their baby’s age as follows: 0–6-month-olds, 7–14-month-olds and 15–24-month-olds. Four mothers from each FGD then attended an IDI. Results: Although mothers understood that breast-feeding was beneficial, they reported short durations of exclusive breast-feeding. The diversity and quality of weaning foods were low, and ‘junk’ food items were commonly given. Infants were fed using bottles or spoons and feeding commonly occurred separately to family meal times. Feeding practices were influenced by mothers’ beliefs that what babies eat is important for their health and that an unwillingness to eat is a sign of ill health. As such, mothers often force-fed their babies. In addition, mothers believed that feeding solid food to babies before 6 months of age was necessary. Family matriarchs were highly influential to mothers’ feeding practices; however, their advice often contradicted that of health professionals. Conclusions: In South Africa, interventions aimed at establishing healthier appetites and eating behaviours in early life should focus on: (i) fostering maternal self-efficacy around exclusive breast-feeding; (ii) challenging mixed feeding practices and encouraging more responsive feeding approaches and (iii) engaging family members to promote supportive household and community structures around infant feeding.

10 citations


Cites background from "Perceived Roles of Fathers in the P..."

  • ...In addition, research shows that involving fathers in feeding education may facilitate the adoption of amore supportive paternal role, particularly related to financial and emotional support, protection of the mother–baby dyad and encouragement to engage with health services(48)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results showed that fathers' perspectives on breastfeeding support were shaped by their knowledge of breastfeeding and participation in the breastfeeding process, and further research is required to design and implement appropriate interventions to help fathers effectively support their breastfeeding partners.
Abstract: Objective To critically review and summarize the results of published articles on fathers' perspectives regarding breastfeeding support for their partners. Data Sources We searched the following databases for articles published between January 2010 and May 2019: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, ThaiJo, and ThaiLis. We included articles published in English and Thai. Study Selection After duplicates were removed, our initial search yielded 3,927 articles. We excluded articles in accordance with pre-established criteria. We performed a quality appraisal of the selected full-text articles and ultimately included 27 in this review. Data Extraction We analyzed studies that met inclusion criteria and extracted and organized data related to fathers' perspectives on breastfeeding support into a structured table. Data Synthesis The data were synthesized into three themes: Attitude Toward Breastfeeding, Knowledge of Breastfeeding, and Fathers' Perceptions of the Breastfeeding Support They Provided. Conclusion Our results showed that fathers' perspectives on breastfeeding support were shaped by their knowledge of breastfeeding and participation in the breastfeeding process. To promote breastfeeding, further research is required to design and implement appropriate interventions to help fathers effectively support their breastfeeding partners.

6 citations

TL;DR: Exclusive breastfeeding could be the primary source of food for infants and could support optimal growth and development for the first six months of life, and factors such as poor understanding and cultural perceptions of EBF, as well as conflicts between traditional beliefs and EBF have been identified.
Abstract: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) could be the primary source of food for infants and could support optimal growth and development for the first six months of life. Several lifelong maternal, child and societal health benefits have been associated with EBF.1 Recent data suggest that EBF can substantially mitigate the risk of both shortand long-term health defects, such as stunted growth and impaired cognitive ability.2 Similarly, optimal breastfeeding has been reported to prevent around 12% of deaths in the under 5 years age group every year, amounting to around 800 000 lives being saved in lowand middle-income countries.3 However, despite all the potential advantages, the practice of EBF is consistently low in sub-Saharan Africa.4 Factors such as poor understanding and cultural perceptions of EBF, as well as conflicts between traditional beliefs and EBF, have been identified as barriers to the sustainability of EBF on the continent.5,6

3 citations

Frequently Asked Questions (1)
Q1. What are the contributions mentioned in the paper "Perceived roles of fathers in the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding" ?

The focus of this research was to explore and to describe the perceived roles of fathers in the support, protection and promotion of breastfeeding. This study adopted a qualitative method using an explorative and descriptive design, and the sample included twelve fathers of infants aged less than six months at Schoonoord Village, Sekhukhune District, Limpopo province, South Africa. This study recommends that fathers be involved in breastfeeding counselling and that healthcare providers create an environment that is conducive to the participation of fathers in the topic of infant feeding.