The purpose of this three-part dissertation is to understand the importance of informal social support, specifically of the male partner, on breastfeeding intentions and behaviors. It explores the impact male partner perceptions and attitudes may have on breastfeeding and implications for improving breastfeeding outcomes with intervention strategies focusing on male partners. Chapter 1 outlines the benefits of breastfeeding, summarizes data on breastfeeding rates in Hawai‘i and the US, describes the influence that informal support can have on a woman’s breastfeeding behaviors, and presents the purpose and conceptual framework of the dissertation research. Chapter 2 reports the results of a systematic literature review on fathers’ influence on and perceptions of breastfeeding and father-focused interventions to increase breastfeeding and discusses implications for future intervention development. Chapter 3 presents findings from a qualitative study in which male partners of pregnant women and new moms were interviewed regarding their attitudes, knowledge, and feelings about breastfeeding. Chapter 4 investigates the infant-feeding attitudes of WIC mom and partner pairs using a quantitative approach to explore associations between mom and partner attitudes and infant feeding intentions and whether the partner’s infant feeding attitudes influence infant feeding intentions over and above the mom’s attitude. Participants for Chapters 3 and 4 were recruited within the Hawai‘i US Department of Agriculture’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Chapter 5 presents the main conclusions of the dissertation research, implications for practice and policy, future research directions, and contributions the research makes to literature. Consistent with recent national and international research, results suggest that the male partners of the Hawai‘i WIC population are an important source of support and influence in the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. Male partners want to be iv more involved in the infant feeding process, but do not feel they have the tools and knowledge to support a breastfeeding mom. To increase breastfeeding rates and change cultural norms related to breastfeeding, it is important to improve male partners’ attitudes toward and perceptions of breastfeeding. Findings suggest that an intervention based in Social Cognitive Theory may have the best chance of improving the male partner’s knowledge and attitudes about breastfeeding.
|School:||University of Hawai'i at Manoa|
|School Location:||United States -- Hawaii|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Breastfeeding, Evidence-based practice, Father, Intervention, Male partner, Social support|
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