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Paternal Pregnancy Intention and Breastfeeding Duration: Findings from the National Survey of Family Growth

Abstract

Objectives Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, less than a fifth of American mothers breastfeed for the recommended duration. Paternal support plays a major role in maternal and child health outcomes; however, the influence of paternal pregnancy intention on breastfeeding duration is under investigated. This study examines the relationship between fathers’ pregnancy intention and breastfeeding duration. Methods Data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth were analyzed using cross-sectional methodology. Women who were pregnant, never received medical help to become pregnant, whose partner was aged 18–49 years, and who responded to questions related to paternal pregnancy intention and breastfeeding were included in the analysis (N = 2089). Multinomial logistic regression, odds ratios and 95 % confidence intervals were calculated. There was a statistically significant interaction between father’s age and father’s pregnancy intention (P = 0.0385) and all models were stratified by paternal age. Results Fathers aged 18–24 years with a mistimed pregnancy were 2.3 times more likely to have a child who was never breastfed, (AOR 2.27, 95 % CI 1.39–3.70) and 1.7 times more likely to have a child who was breastfed 6 months or less (AOR 1.69, 95 % CI 1.28–2.23) compared to fathers with an intended pregnancy. No statistically significant association was observed among fathers aged 25–49 years. Conclusion Findings from this study show a relationship between mistimed pregnancies and breastfeeding duration among younger fathers. Healthcare professionals should develop breastfeeding interventions targeting fathers and young families.

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Correspondence to Jordyn T. Wallenborn.

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Wallenborn, J.T., Masho, S.W. & Ratliff, S. Paternal Pregnancy Intention and Breastfeeding Duration: Findings from the National Survey of Family Growth. Matern Child Health J 21, 554–561 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-016-2139-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-016-2139-1

Keywords

  • Father
  • Pregnancy intention
  • Breastfeeding
  • Age
  • Paternal support