Nursing Mothers Breastfeeding Babies

Fathers’ Role Important In Breastfeeding, Infant Sleep – Study

A new study has found that fathers have crucial roles to play in the life of a child and may have a big impact on how the child is breastfed.

Findings from the research indicated that there is a striking link between the support that a father offers and better infant outcomes.

The recent study, which was published in Pediatrics, a Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, also found that fathers are key to making sure babies are put to bed in a safe sleep environment.

The researchers collected data, via a survey, from 250 fathers in Georgia within the first two to six months after childbirth.

In the survey involving 250 fathers, it was discovered that 16% of dads adhered to all the safe infant sleeping habits.

According to the study, among the two-thirds of dads who said they wanted their baby’s mother to nurse, 95% of their newborns started nursing and 78% were still nursing by the time they were eight weeks old.

This was much higher than the 69% of newborns whose dads indicated they didn’t want their kids to nurse or had no opinion and the 33% who were still nursing at eight weeks.

Just 16% of dads who answered the poll claimed to routinely follow three of the safe sleep recommendations made by doctors to prevent sudden unexplained infant death, despite the fact that practically all fathers reported they put their infants to sleep.

The guidelines call for placing the baby to sleep on their back, using an approved sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet, and avoiding all soft bedding, including blankets, pillows, and crib bumpers.

Only 32% of fathers said they used an approved sleep surface.

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The study, however, found that 99% of fathers had put their children to bed, but less than a quarter of them used all the methods recommended.

The research discovered racial disparities in sleep practices, with Black fathers less likely than White fathers to follow those practices.

The study coauthor and a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, United States of America, Dr. Craig Garfield stressed that a father’s active support could be critical in the early months of an infant’s life.

The professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, USA, said, “For more than 30 years, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has carried out a Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System or PRAMS survey that seeks to gather data from mothers before, during and after birth.

“The moms actually started to write in the margins of the survey. The only question they asked (originally in the survey) about dads was: ‘Did your partner hit, kick, beat, or slap you during your pregnancy?

“Mothers knew that a father’s active support could be critical in the early months of an infant’s life, and they wanted that data reflected, too. Ultimately, the CDC reached out to the Northwestern researchers for help, providing funding for the study.”

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended strategies for preventing sudden infant death syndrome which include:

Always place infants to sleep on their backs.

Use an approved sleep surface, one specifically designed for infant sleep (i.e., crib, bassinet, bedside sleeper).

The surface should be firm with no soft bedding or other items, such as blankets or stuffed animals.

SOURCE: Punch HealthWise