• Are fathers underused advocates for breastfeeding?

      Kenosi, M; Hawkes, C P; Dempsey, E M; Ryan, C A (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2011-11)
      Fathers' knowledge base and attitudes influence breastfeeding practice. We aimed to evaluate if Irish fathers felt included in the breastfeeding education and decision process. 67 fathers completed questionnaires, which assessed their role in the decision to breastfeed, knowledge regarding the benefits of breastfeeding and attitude towards breastfeeding.Forty-two (62.7%) of their partners were breastfeeding. Antenatal classes were attended by 38 (56.7%); 59 (88.1%) discussed breastfeeding with their partners and 26 (38.8%) felt that the decision was made together. Twelve (48%) fathers of formula fed infants were unaware that breastfeeding was healthier for the baby. Most fathers (80.6%) felt that breastfeeding was the mother's decision and most (82.1%) felt that antenatal information was aimed at mothers only. Irish fathers remain relatively uninformed regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. This may contribute to their exclusion from the decision to breastfeed. Antenatal education should incorporate fathers more, and this may result in an improvement in our breastfeeding rates.