Fathers, Breastfeeding, and Infant Sleep Practices: Findings From a State-Representative Survey

John James Parker*, Clarissa Simon, Anne Bendelow, Michael Bryan, Ruben A. Smith, Katherine Kortsmit, Beatriz Salvesen von Essen, Letitia Williams, Ada Dieke, Lee Warner, Craig F. Garfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess infant breastfeeding initiation and any breastfeeding at 8 weeks and safe sleep practices (back sleep position, approved sleep surface, and no soft objects or loose bedding [“soft bedding”]) by select paternal characteristics among a state-representative sample of fathers with new infants. METHODS: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) for Dads, a novel population-based cross-sectional study, surveyed fathers in Georgia 2–6 months after their infant’s birth. Fathers were eligible if the infant’s mother was sampled for maternal PRAMS from October 2018 to July 2019. RESULTS: Of 250 respondents, 86.1% reported their infants ever breastfed and 63.4% reported breastfeeding at 8 weeks. Initiation and breastfeeding at 8 weeks were more likely to be reported by fathers who reported wanting their infant’s mother to breastfeed than those who did not want her to breastfeed or had no opinion (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 5 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15–1.68; aPR 5 2.33; 95% CI, 1.59–3.42, respectively) and fathers who were college graduates than those with #high school diploma (aPR 5 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06–1.46; aPR 5 1.44; 95% CI, 1.08–1.91, respectively). Although about four-fifths (81.1%) of fathers reported usually placing their infants to sleep on their back, fewer fathers report avoiding soft bedding (44.1%) or using an approved sleep surface (31.9%). Non-Hispanic Black fathers were less likely to report back sleep position (aPR 5 0.70; 95% CI, 0.54–0.90) and no soft bedding (aPR 5 0.52; 95% CI, 0.30–0.89) than non-Hispanic white fathers. CONCLUSIONS: Fathers reported suboptimal infant breastfeeding rates and safe sleep practices overall and by paternal characteristics, suggesting opportunities to include fathers in promotion of breastfeeding and infant safe sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022061008
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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