Title

Infant Feeding Support of Urban Fathers and Related Parent Educational Learning Needs during the First Year after Birth

Proposal Focus

Research

Abstract

Transitioning to the father role can be complex and stressful and fathers may not be fully prepared to assume the father role. Since fathers have little formal preparation for becoming a father, they may need more social support resources to support their adaptations to the father role. In addition, fathers are instrumental in supporting mothers’ breastfeeding and other infant feeding decisions, but may experience difficulties with infant care tasks, such as feeding and providing care to their infant. Studies show that many fathers want to be productive and nurturing in the father role but little is known about fathers’ parenting knowledge and needs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to describe the social support resources of fathers with infant feeding and related parent educational learning needs during the first year after birth. Cross-sectional data was obtained for this descriptive, exploratory study by using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze questionnaire findings and directed content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data. Since there is little evidenced-based literature on social support and parenting knowledge and needs of fathers in general, the study design was descriptive, exploratory and included new and experienced fathers. The study was guided by Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory. The findings reported in this study originated in a larger study on social support needs of urban fathers with infants during the first year after birth.

Thirty experienced and new fathers were recruited from community organizations that offer services to low-income families in a southern part of the United States. The mean age range of the fathers was 30 (SD = 5) and 60% were experienced fathers and 40% were new fathers. The majority of the fathers were single (67%), Black (90%), had some or completed high-school education (81%) and 85% reported low annual incomes of less than $20,000. Most infants were bottle-fed (73%) and all infants were between 2-12 months. Inclusion criteria included being 18 years old with an infant that was born full-term. The study was reviewed and approved by the university internal review board.

Findings revealed most fathers were confident with feeding their baby, however, some fathers were not confident because they were afraid to handle their baby due to the baby’s size or felt awkward when holding the baby. When fathers had difficulties with feeding their babies, they primarily asked family and friends for advice. Other resources included the internet and healthcare professionals. Fathers reported positive and negative attitudes towards breastfeeding and reasons why breastfeeding was stopped. After the baby’s birth, fathers reported the majority of parent educational learning needs related to how to take of infant, normal infant behavior, basic, daily care, and recognizing signs and symptoms of illness. At time of interview, the majority of parent educational learning needs related to how to cope with a difficulty baby, accessing positive parenting tips and resources, being responsive to the infant, coping with being a new father, and recognizing signs of depression. Recommendations for practice and research will be provided.

Keywords

fathers, infant feeding, social support, parent education

Location

Tiger I

Start Date

9-3-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

9-3-2018 12:30 PM

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Mar 9th, 11:30 AM Mar 9th, 12:30 PM

Infant Feeding Support of Urban Fathers and Related Parent Educational Learning Needs during the First Year after Birth

Tiger I

Transitioning to the father role can be complex and stressful and fathers may not be fully prepared to assume the father role. Since fathers have little formal preparation for becoming a father, they may need more social support resources to support their adaptations to the father role. In addition, fathers are instrumental in supporting mothers’ breastfeeding and other infant feeding decisions, but may experience difficulties with infant care tasks, such as feeding and providing care to their infant. Studies show that many fathers want to be productive and nurturing in the father role but little is known about fathers’ parenting knowledge and needs. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to describe the social support resources of fathers with infant feeding and related parent educational learning needs during the first year after birth. Cross-sectional data was obtained for this descriptive, exploratory study by using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze questionnaire findings and directed content analysis was used to analyze the qualitative data. Since there is little evidenced-based literature on social support and parenting knowledge and needs of fathers in general, the study design was descriptive, exploratory and included new and experienced fathers. The study was guided by Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory. The findings reported in this study originated in a larger study on social support needs of urban fathers with infants during the first year after birth.

Thirty experienced and new fathers were recruited from community organizations that offer services to low-income families in a southern part of the United States. The mean age range of the fathers was 30 (SD = 5) and 60% were experienced fathers and 40% were new fathers. The majority of the fathers were single (67%), Black (90%), had some or completed high-school education (81%) and 85% reported low annual incomes of less than $20,000. Most infants were bottle-fed (73%) and all infants were between 2-12 months. Inclusion criteria included being 18 years old with an infant that was born full-term. The study was reviewed and approved by the university internal review board.

Findings revealed most fathers were confident with feeding their baby, however, some fathers were not confident because they were afraid to handle their baby due to the baby’s size or felt awkward when holding the baby. When fathers had difficulties with feeding their babies, they primarily asked family and friends for advice. Other resources included the internet and healthcare professionals. Fathers reported positive and negative attitudes towards breastfeeding and reasons why breastfeeding was stopped. After the baby’s birth, fathers reported the majority of parent educational learning needs related to how to take of infant, normal infant behavior, basic, daily care, and recognizing signs and symptoms of illness. At time of interview, the majority of parent educational learning needs related to how to cope with a difficulty baby, accessing positive parenting tips and resources, being responsive to the infant, coping with being a new father, and recognizing signs of depression. Recommendations for practice and research will be provided.