Breastfeeding and fathers: illuminating the darker side

Birth. 1990 Dec;17(4):210-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-536x.1990.tb00024.x.


Although breastfeeding may be the best form of infant nutrition and be an important practice for mother and infant, it may be perceived as negative by the father and thus inhibit the development of the father-infant relationship. This study provides a summary of data from a longitudinal study of the male experience of expectant and new parenthood, and a summary of the literature on breastfeeding and fathers. Fathers' concerns about breastfeeding included the lack of opportunity to develop a relationship with their child, feeling inadequate, and being separated from their mate by the baby. The professional literature fails adequately to represent the negative aspects of breastfeeding for fathers. The parents' literature contains one father's candid and humorous account that caregivers might use, together with other techniques, to make parents aware of these aspects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Object Attachment
  • Self Concept