What is Needed Now is Policy Backup to Actively Integrate Fathers: Insights from Health Workers on Father Support for Exclusive Breastfeeding

Saratu O. Ajike, Motunrayo F. Olanrewaju


Health professionals are important in fostering a mother-infant-father triad towards breastfeeding success.  Therefore, this study explored health workers’ perspectives on father support for exclusive breastfeeding. A qualitative survey using semi-structured interviews was conducted among 11 health workers who were purposefully selected from Ikenne Local Government Area, southwest Nigeria. The participants had over 5 years’ experience in maternal, newborn and child health services delivery. Content was analysed thematically.  The major findings were (1) The health workers aknowledge their new role in the mechanism of enabling fathers to support breastfeeding, but also emphasized the need for health systems support. (2) Thinking outside of a patriarchal community, other forms of paternal social support were emphasized. (3) Community level strategies for active father support for breastfeeding were highlighted.The health workers have been making untailored efforts to involve men in health care. However, there is a need to develop appropriate policies to support the integration of father support programming into the current maternal and child health service delivery.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Father support, Health worker

DOI: 10.7176/JHMN/71-10

Publication date: February 29th 2020

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ISSN 2422-8419

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