The purpose of this commentary is to provide perinatal providers with the tools they need to incorporate fathers into the breastfeeding relationship. Research shows that engaged fathers increase initiation rates, decrease the rate of breastfeeding complications that lead to premature cessation, and increase the duration and exclusivity of a mother's breastfeeding efforts. Despite this evidence, studies frequently show that fathers report being ignored or excluded from breastfeeding education. This is likely an oversight on the behalf of perinatal providers rather than a conscious effort. Ultimately, however, perinatal providers need to be prepared to address the concerns of all parents who will provide care to the infant and not the mother alone. This commentary discusses the value of fathers as breastfeeding supporters and offers evidence-based teaching strategies requested by fathers. This commentary also identifies and describes 4 father-friendly breastfeeding promotion resources and highlights the techniques used to draw fathers into the mother's breastfeeding efforts.
Department of Nursing, Methodist University, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Corresponding Author: Jarold T. Johnston Jr, MSN, CNM, IBCLC, Department of Nursing, Methodist University, 5400 Ramsey St, Fayetteville, NC 28311 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Disclosure: The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Submitted for publication: October 29, 2017; accepted for publication: January 3, 2018.