PMID: 8410435Jul 1, 1993

Fathers of breastfed infants: postponing and types of involvement

Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing : JOGNN
D Gamble, J M Morse


To examine husbands' experiences of having their wives breastfeed. Qualitative method of grounded theory. In-depth interviews by phone at home. Fourteen middle-class, urban, Canadian fathers of successfully breastfed infants. The fathers reported a disparity in the types of relationships that their children had with each of their parents as a result of breastfeeding. The process that enabled the fathers to accept this perceived difference was labeled postponing. Four fathering styles, which explain the variation in postponing, were found. The phases of postponing include becoming aware of the disparity, simultaneously developing accepting strategies and acknowledging reinforcing factors, and, finally, developing compensating behaviors to increase the fathers' interactions with their infants and promote closer relationships. When weaning occurred, the fathers' relationships with their children changed as the fathers found ways to catch up. A need exists for realistic education about the realities of breastfeeding for fathers. More outlets for fathers' negative emotions toward breastfeeding need to be found.


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Coping Skills
Attitude to Health
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