Effect of expectant mothers' feeding plan on prediction of fathers' attitudes regarding breast-feeding

Am J Perinatol. 1993 Jul;10(4):300-3. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-994745.


A mother's perception of the father's attitude toward breast-feeding may strongly influence her prenatal choice of infant feeding method; however, research has demonstrated that women do little better than chance in predicting these attitudes. this study sought to determine if differential perceptions of fathers' attitudes regarding breast-feeding existed between women who had made a prenatal decision to breast- or formula-feed their children. The 268 expectant mothers in prenatal classes completed a self-administered questionnaire. Chi-square analysis was performed to determine the significance of the association between maternal attitudes toward breast-feeding and intended feeding plan (breast or formula) and each predicted paternal attitudinal variable. The majority of subjects were white (80%) and married (95%). Seventy percent planned exclusive breast-feeding, and 68% felt the baby's father wanted them to breast-feed. Mothers who planned breast-feeding were more knowledgeable of its benefits, had more favorable perceptions, and were more likely to predict positive attitudes of fathers toward breast-feeding than those who planned formula feeding. Women who planned formula feeding predicted less positive paternal attitudes regarding breast-feeding; this perception (whether correct or incorrect) likely impacted on their choice of infant feeding method. More time should be devoted in prenatal classes and prenatal physician visits to breast-feeding education for mothers and fathers. Active encouragement of paternal participation in breast-feeding classes, usually directed toward women only, would foster understanding of the benefits of breast-feeding and the support fathers can provide.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Choice Behavior
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires