Fathers are known to impact breastfeeding outcomes. We aimed to explore paternal knowledge and attitude toward breastfeeding, and possible association with breastfeeding rates at discharge. In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled 200 fathers of healthy term neonates. At discharge, fathers were asked to rate their degree of agreement to 12 items on a 5-point Likert scale. A total score was obtained from their answers. Univariate binary logistic regression analysis was used to verify if the total score was predictive of exclusive breastfeeding at discharge. A multivariable logistic regression model was then used to adjust for possible confounders. ROC analysis was performed, and a Youden’s total score cut-off value was determined to define total score’s performance in predicting exclusive breastfeeding at discharge. Fathers showed a solid knowledge of maternal (87%) and neonatal (98%) benefits of breastfeeding, skin-to-skin (99.5%), rooming-in (79%), and responsive feeding (67.5%); conversely, only 51% knew about the recommended use of pacifiers. Fathers felt personally involved in babies’ feeding in 79% of cases. An association was found between total score and exclusive breastfeeding at discharge at univariate (OR: 1.07, p = 0.04) but not at multivariable analysis (OR: 1.07, p = 0.067). ROC analysis was not statistically significant (AUC 0.58, p = 0.083). Conclusion: By using a novel instrument aimed at quantifying fathers’ knowledge and overall attitude toward breastfeeding, this study underlines the importance of including fathers in the promotion of breastfeeding. Expanding the classic mother-baby dyad to a more modern mother-father-baby triad may impact breastfeeding outcomes at discharge.What is known:• Social support plays a major role in improving breastfeeding outcomes.• Fathers may greatly influence initiation and duration of breastfeeding; the more they know, the more helpful they can be.What is new:• A multidisciplinary team created a structured questionnaire aimed at quantifying fathers’ knowledge and attitude toward breastfeeding.• The association between a higher questionnaire total score and exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge highlights the importance of including fathers in the promotion of breastfeeding, as part of the breastfeeding team.
- Paternal involvement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health