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de Lacerda et al. (2014) – Adolescent Fathers – Knowledge of and Involvement in the Breast Feeding Process in Brazil

Abstract

Objective: to understand the ways in which adolescent fathers participate in the breast feeding process in the family environment in North-eastern Brazil.

Methods: a descriptive, exploratory, qualitative study was undertaken involving 10 couples with infants aged 6-8 months living in a single community in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with questions to guide the interviewer. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis, and interpreted under the theoretical reference of being an adolescent father within the context of breast feeding.

Findings: from the data collected, three themes were identified: knowledge of the benefits of breast feeding for the child’s health; discontinued participation of the father in breast feeding during the pregnancy-childbearing cycle; and exclusion of the adolescent father from the breast feeding process. The adolescent fathers knew about the benefits of breast feeding in terms of the child’s health, but did not mention benefits for the mother, the family or society. For some adolescent fathers, their participation in the breast feeding process started during pregnancy, whereas for others, it was only initiated after the infant was born. One of the fathers was prevented, by his wife and mother-in-law, from participating in the breast feeding process.

Conclusions: the involvement of adolescent fathers in the breast feeding process oscillated during the pregnancy-childbearing cycle. This may be due to the patriarchal cultural heritage, Brazilian paternity laws, and the fact that these fathers were adolescents. This study showed that adolescent parents were knowledgeable about breast feeding. Finally, fathers want a new model of parenting in which the man participates in child care.


Reference

de Lacerda, Ana Catarina Torres, Maria Gorete Lucena de Vasconcelos, Eloine Nascimento de Alencar, Mônica Maria Osório, and Cleide Maria Pontes2014. “Adolescent Fathers: Knowledge of and Involvement in the Breast Feeding Process in Brazil.” Midwifery 30(3):338–44. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2013.01.006.

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