Date of Award

Spring 3-11-2004

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Heather Bidinger

Second Advisor

Dawn B. Ludwig


Background: previous studies regarding breastfeeding have demonstrated the importance of the father in the infant feeding decision and shown that mothers were more likely to breastfeed if the father had a positive opinion of breastfeeding. Methods: This study intended to determine what attitudes fathers had regarding breastfeeding and if a positive view of breastfeeding by a father correlated to the intention of his partner to breastfeed. The subjects for the study were couples participating together in one of two birth and parenting classes- The mothers were questioned about their intended breastfeeding decision, their perceived support from their male partner and whether they would change their decision if their partner did not support it- The fathers were asked to rate a number of opinions regarding breastfeeding on a Likert scale' Results: of the expectant fathers, 72% felt breastfeeding is better for the baby, 82% felt breastfeeding was natural, 76% felt breastfeeding was beneficial for the mother and 80% felt breastfeeding was better for the baby. Of the 50 expectant mothers, 82% intended to breastfeed exclusively and 14%planned to use a combination of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding with formula and 100% of the mothers reported support from their male partner. of the mothers, 74% stated they would stay with their decision if their partner did not support it. Conclusions: From the results of the study, it was apparent that fathers with a positive attitude surrounding breastfeeding were more likely to have partners who intended to breastfeed than fathers with a negative attitude' This study found that a majority of the women stated they would stay with their feeding method if their partner did not support it. This is different from results of other studies that found a mother would choose the infant feeding method she thought her partner preferred. lncluding the expectant father in breastfeeding education may have a positive effect on breastfeeding incidence and duration, and the birth and parenting class provides an opportunity to do such.


SC 11.PAS.2004.Semling.DM