Dads as breastfeeding advocates: results from a randomized controlled trial of an educational intervention

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Sep;191(3):708-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.05.019.


Objective: Recognizing that an expectant father may influence a mother's decision to breast- or formula-feed, we tested the effectiveness of a simple, educational intervention that was designed to encourage fathers to advocate for breastfeeding and to assist his partner if she chooses to breastfeed.

Study design: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which expectant fathers (n = 59) were assigned randomly to attend either a 2-hour intervention class on infant care and breastfeeding promotion (intervention) or a class on infant care only (control group). The classes, which were led by a peer-educator, were interactive and informal and utilized different media to create an accessible environment for participants. Couples were recruited during the second trimester from a university obstetrics practice.

Results: Overall, breastfeeding was initiated by 74% of women whose partners attended the intervention class, as compared with 41% of women whose partners attended the control class (P = .02).

Conclusion: Expectant fathers can be influential advocates for breastfeeding, playing a critical role in encouraging a woman to breastfeed her newborn infant.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fathers* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy