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Relationships between paternal attitudes, paternal involvement, and infant-feeding outcomes: Mixed-methods findings from a global on-line survey of English-speaking fathers

Atkinson, L, Silverio, SA, Bick, D and Fallon, V (2021) Relationships between paternal attitudes, paternal involvement, and infant-feeding outcomes: Mixed-methods findings from a global on-line survey of English-speaking fathers. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 17. ISSN 1740-8695

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.13147 (Published version)


The breastfeeding intention–behaviour gap remains wide in developed countries. Current studies have focused on maternal attitudes and behaviours concerning infant feeding in order to explore barriers to breastfeeding continuation. There has been limited consideration of the impact of paternal attitudes and behaviours, despite contemporary parenthood evolving and evidence indicating that there are greater levels of paternal involvement in routine childcare tasks. This mixed-methods study used a triangulation design to examine the associations between paternal attitudes towards parenthood and infant-feeding methods, levels of paternal involvement, infant-feeding outcomes, and father–infant relationships. Fathers of infants <52 weeks completed an online survey providing quantitative data (N = 212) and qualitative data (N = 208). For the quantitative data, fathers completed validated measures about their attitude towards parenthood and infant feeding, levels of paternal involvement, and infant-feeding history. For the qualitative data, questions explored influences on paternal attitudes towards infant feeding and the father–infant relationship. After controlling for covariates, regression analyses found egalitarian attitudes towards parenthood were positively associated with both attitudes towards breastfeeding and levels of paternal involvement. Positive paternal attitudes towards breastfeeding were significantly associated with increased likelihood of breastfeeding. A thematic framework analysis indicated fathers' attitudes towards infant feeding were largely influenced by their families and partners or healthcare professionals. Polarised views were expressed about the impact infant-feeding methods had on the father–infant relationship, although fathers were united in their desire to bond with their infant. Addressing paternal attitudes and the importance of father–infant involvement in domains other than feeding maybe beneficial in supporting breastfeeding and the father–infant relationship.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Attitude; Father-Child Relations; Parenting; Fathers; Breast Feeding; Child; Infant; Child Care; Female; Male; Surveys and Questionnaires; attitudes; childcare; father-child relations; fathers; gender role; infant-feeding method; parenting; Attitude; Breast Feeding; Child; Child Care; Father-Child Relations; Fathers; Female; Humans; Infant; Male; Parenting; Surveys and Questionnaires; 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics; Nutrition & Dietetics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 11:30
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 11:30
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/mcn.13147
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18296

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