In-the-know Dads make for longer-term breastfeeding

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: January 9th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s a given. Moms are essential when it comes to breastfeeding. But Dads are important, too, and are key in encouraging Moms to breastfeed long term. And, with proper training, researchers say Dads may be better than health professionals when it comes to giving Moms the support they need.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics… the first of its kind… followed two-hundred-eighty sets of parents to see if educating Dads helped promote breastfeeding. Experts recommend breastfeeding babies for the first six months of life, continuing after introducing solid foods until at least baby’s first birthday. All the Moms in the study planned to nurse their babies and received advice and support for breastfeeding.

Half the study Dads attended a training session on how to manage common breastfeeding problems like discomfort, worrying about milk supply and dealing with breastfeeding after returning to work. The other Dads attended a session about infant health and nutrition… but nothing about breastfeeding problems.

Researchers say specifically educating Dads about breastfeeding worked. Twenty-five percent of the Moms with in-the-know husbands were still breastfeeding when their babies were six months old. Only fifteen percent of the Moms were still breastfeeding if Dads attended the general session.

Ninety-one percent of the Moms with savvy husbands said their husbands helped them with breastfeeding issues. Only thirty-four percent of the other Moms said their husbands helped.

All in all, the extra training paid off and helped both Moms and Dads start their babies on a healthy path.