|Soledad Vela Acosta, Martha|
Submitted to: Journal of American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2010
Publication Date: 11/1/2010
Citation: Lovera, D., Sanderson, M., Bogle, M.L., Vela Acosta, M.S. 2010. Evaluation of a breastfeeding peer support program for fathers of Hispanic participants in a Texas special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children. Journal of American Dietetic Association. 110(11):1696-1702. Interpretive Summary: Breastfeeding rates at six months and beyond are still short from the Healthy People 2010 objectives. Studies agree that having father-to-father discussions can help educate both parents, which may affect breastfeeding rates and help reduce health care costs. In this study, we evaluated whether participation in the pilot Peer Dad Program had an effect on breastfeeding initiation and duration. The current findings showed that there was an increase in breastfeeding duration, but this does not differ significantly. Mothers who breastfed for less than six months had previous breastfeeding experience, had difficulty nursing, thought that breastmilk was not enough for the infant, thought that they were not producing enough milk, and reported that they had too many household duties. Mothers who continued at six months had advanced maternal education. Fathers who had less than a high school education supported their spouse to breastfeeding until six months. This study concluded that a mother's decision to continue or terminate breastfeeding may be influenced by the father. Recommendations based on the data will be used to guide WIC breastfeeding counselors on discussion topics and offer support based on the parents' needs and finding other ways to educate fathers.
Technical Abstract: In 2002, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children(WIC) introduced an innovative approach for breastfeeding mothers and their spouses. The Pilot Peer Dad Program targeted fathers to promote and support their spouse in breastfeeding. This study evaluated duration of breastfeeding among couples who enrolled in the pilot Peer Dad Program (n=101) and those that did not enroll (n=99). Structured interviews were conducted with WIC participants and their male partners. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate breastfeeding duration associated with Peer Dad Program participation. Findings indicated that breastfeeding at least six months was more likely among mothers with more than a high school education. Fathers with less than a high school education were more likely to support their partner to breastfeed six months or longer. Maternal characteristics associated with breastfeeding less than six months included: previous breastfeeding, difficulty nursing, belief that breastmilk was not enough for the infant, not producing enough milk, and reporting they had too many household duties. Infants who were introduced to a pacifier at the hospital were less likely to breastfeed for six months. Although not statistically significant, mothers whose partner participated in the pilot Peer Dad Program were more likely to continue breastfeeding at least six months. Programs that target fathers have the potential to increase breastfeeding knowledge among males and increase breastfeeding duration rates among couples. WIC breastfeeding educators should include the male partner in the breastfeeding counseling sessions.