Men’s Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding: Findings from the 2007 Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
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- Vaaler, M.L., Castrucci, B.C., Parks, S.E. et al. Matern Child Health J (2011) 15: 148. doi:10.1007/s10995-010-0605-8
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Past research on breastfeeding demonstrates that male partners’ support is a significant factor in mothers’ decisions to breastfeed. This study explored the diversity of men’s opinions about breastfeeding, for the purpose of increasing breastfeeding support among men. This study used the Texas sample of the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to examine whether men’s attitudes toward breastfeeding varied by their demographic characteristics and whether fathers’ breastfeeding attitudes were related to couples’ choice of infant feeding method. Descriptive statistics and linear regression estimated the influence of each demographic characteristic on breastfeeding attitudes. Among a subsample of fathers, multinomial logistic regression analyzed the influence of men’s breastfeeding attitudes on their choice of infant feeding method. Findings showed that Spanish-speaking Hispanic men were most likely to agree that breastfeeding had social limitations (e.g. interfere with social life) for mothers, yet they viewed public images of breastfeeding as more acceptable compared with other men. In comparison to U.S.-born men, foreign-born men were in greater agreement that employers should accommodate breastfeeding. Among fathers, support of public images of breastfeeding and attitudes toward employers’ accommodations were positively associated with the choice to use breast milk. Men’s ethnicity, country of origin, education level, and socioeconomic status all contribute to different norms and expectations about breastfeeding. Men’s attitudes about public images of breastfeeding and employers’ accommodations for breastfeeding mothers influence the choice of breast milk as the sole infant-feeding method.