The importance of paternity leave when breastfeeding - Evidence Based Babies
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Paternity leave

The importance of paternity leave when breastfeeding


Let’s not forget the important role you play in the success of breastfeeding this World Breastfeeding Week 2023.

You matter, a lot when it comes to breastfeeding. More than you may know.

One study has found that when men took paternity leave, their infants were more likely to be breastfeeding at 2, 4, and 6 months of age.

Another study also shows that breastfeeding education and promotion for fathers in the antenatal and postnatal periods improved exclusive breastfeeding rates at 6 months, decreased the probability of full formula feeding at 2 months, decreased the occurrence of breastfeeding-related problems, increased the level of support offered by the father in breastfeeding-related issues, and improved the mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards breastfeeding.

Fathers being on paternity leave and being able to support mothers during a critical time helped raise the rates of success in breastfeeding due to many factors including help with household duties, helping recognise infant hunger cues help taking care of the infant with non feeding related responsibilities such as changing and bathing and just offering overall emotional support to the mother at a time where breastfeeding is still being established, the mother is still adapting to her new lifestyle and support is greatly needed.

Research clearly shows us that fathers matter when it comes to breastfeeding duration and success and that they should be receiving paternity leave to be able to offer their partners the needed support and to also have the opportunity to adjust to their new lifestyle and to help build a healthy attachment with their babies.

Breastfeeding matters, it matters to both the child’s emotional and physical health and wellbeing and to their development, it also matters to the mothers emotional and physical health and wellbeing, it matters to the attachment between mother and child, it matters to the family’s financial wellbeing and it matters to the global economy.

That’s a lot of matters! Dads, you play a huge role in the success of breastfeeding too. You matter. You deserve education and support, and you deserve paternity leave.

Let’s stand up for dads!!!












Additional information and resources:

The Role of Fathers in Promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding

Translating fathers’ support for breastfeeding into practice

Paid parental leave and family wellbeing in the sustainable development era

Effectiveness of targeting fathers for breastfeeding promotion: systematic review and meta-analysis

Dads make a difference: an exploratory study of paternal support for breastfeeding in Perth, Western Australia

Longer shared parental leave is associated with longer duration of breastfeeding: a cross-sectional study among Swedish mothers and their partners


Please take note that all of the information provided on this website is for educational purposes only.

We take every effort to ensure that we stay up to date with the latest research and that we only provide you with the best possible evidence based information available.

Online information will never be a substitute for individual support by a qualified healthcare professional.

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