• June 22, 2024

Study reveals fathers’ support for breastfeeding and secure infant sleep 2023

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS for Dads) recently surveyed new dads and found that fathers may make a big difference in whether an infant is fed and securely placed to sleep.

This new strategy is based on the 35-year-old yearly monitoring method used by the CDC and public health organizations to survey new parents.

This is the first state-representative research to employ PRAMS for Dads to describe father-reported infant feeding and sleep practices.

Paediatrics published the research.

95% of dads who wanted their infant’s mother to breastfeed initiated breastfeeding, and 78% started by eight weeks. This is substantially higher than the rates reported by dads who had no opinion or did not want their infant’s mother to nurse—69% initiated breastfeeding and 33% reported nursing at eight weeks.

Researchers discovered that 99 percent of dads put their child to sleep, but only 16 percent used the back sleep position, an authorized sleep surface, and avoided soft bedding. Nearly a third of fathers polled lacked safe sleep instruction.

Black fathers used soft bedding and slept less on their backs than White fathers. Unsafe sleep patterns may lead to Black newborns’ twice-the-rate of sudden unexpected infant mortality.

“Our findings underscore that new fathers are a critical audience to promote breastfeeding and safe infant sleep,” said lead author John James Parker, MD, a pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, internist at Northwestern Medicine, and Instructor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Many families don’t get the health advantages of breastfeeding because they’re not supported. Fathers must be directly included in breastfeeding talks and providers must emphasize their importance to nursing success. Fathers must also be counseled on newborn sleep safety.

We need public awareness campaigns and home visiting programs to improve Black newborn sleep patterns to prevent racial inequalities in sudden unexpected infant mortality. Effective treatments require both parents.”

250 dads were polled two to six months following their child’s birth.

“As pediatricians, we focus on how to ensure the best health outcomes for children, with successful breastfeeding and safe sleep practices being two key behaviors that impact children’s health,” said senior author Craig Garfield, MD, MAPP, founder of Lurie Children’s Family & Child Health Innovations Program (FCHIP).

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences. Our study shows that dads influence both behaviors, but more needs to be done to help them. College-educated fathers were more likely to breastfeed and get infant sleep safety advice. Breastfeeding and safe sleep advice must reach all new parents to increase child health.”

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