PARTNER PARTICIPATION HELPS MOTHER BREASTFEED LONGER, SAYS STUDY
AUG 1, 2019 @ 11.22 AM
Royal Philips recently released new data revealing the important role that partners play in the breastfeeding process.
The research findings from Philips Avent show that almost all mums surveyed would like their partners to be involved in every aspect of looking after their newborn baby. 65% of mums would like their partners to help prepare a bottle feed, while 63% want support feeding the baby at night.
Fortunately, most dads (81%) want to help, but there are some areas where they could be doing more to support. While most partners (82%) are involved in comforting and checking up on the baby, less than half (46%) clean the breast pumps and the bottles for the next feeding and only 41% spend time researching how to feed the baby. This means there are some aspects of caring for a newborn that are still falling to mum and there is a need for greater education for partners.
This is reflected by the research findings which show that 76% of mothers think that more information is needed on how partners can support the breastfeeding journey. With evidence suggesting that by educating fathers on the benefits of breastfeeding, we can double the likelihood of babies being exclusively breastfed for the first six months, a hugely important topic for new parents to discuss and consider.
Lower breastfeeding rates at six months
The health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are widely acknowledged, but while global breastfeeding initiation rates at birth remain high at around 60-95%, these are gradually declining over time. This is resulting in lower breastfeeding rates at six months of age.
Providing ongoing support for breastfeeding mothers then, is key, especially with women becoming increasingly time-strained and many having to juggle childcare with careers. Partners can play an active role in the breastfeeding process, and fortunately many say they would like to do so.
“The importance of breastfeeding cannot be overstated. Family members, friends and healthcare professionals can all play a positive part in encouraging and promoting breastfeeding. Studies have shown that women receiving support from their partner are more likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding for a longer period of time, while having your partner’s presence during breastfeeding is shown to improve infant bonding during the post-partum period. Infants also benefit through reduced cognitive delay and weight gain.
“The role of the father has changed in the past few decades,” said Professor Dr Michael Abou-Dakn, chief physician of Gynaecology at the St Joseph Hospital in Berlin and a specialist on the topic of father-infant bonding.
“Men are now much more willing to be hands-on in the child raising process. Not only are men more often present at births, but they are also taking on a lot of the childcare duties too. This includes supporting the breastfeeding process, which is great for father-infant bonding and has long-lasting benefits which the baby will carry into later life," he said.
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