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Am Fam Physician. 2005;71(3):563-564

Clinical Question: Can an educational intervention for prospective fathers foster breastfeeding by their partners?

Setting: Other

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial (nonblinded)

Allocation: Concealed

Synopsis: In this randomized study, prospective fathers were recruited during the second trimester of pregnancy to attend a two-hour class about infant care. In the intervention group (n = 27), fathers were encouraged to advocate for breastfeeding as the best nutrition for their children. The control group (n = 32) attended a class on infant care without being given information about breastfeeding. Most (85 percent) of the participating men were black. The educational intervention consisted of videotape and slide presentations, role-playing, and discussion in an informal manner guided by a peer educator (a black father). Blinding was not described.

Breastfeeding was initiated by 74 percent of women whose partner had attended the intervention class versus 41 percent of those in the control group (P = .02). The impact of the intervention was limited by the fact that only about 10 percent of the men approached for inclusion actually attended a class. Loss to follow-up prevented assessment of the duration of breastfeeding.

Bottom Line: A single educational session to promote breastfeeding for prospective fathers conducted during the second trimester of pregnancy has the potential to markedly increase the likelihood of the mother initiating breastfeeding. It is not clear whether it affects the duration of breastfeeding. This research must be reproduced to judge its generalizability. (Level of Evidence: 2b)

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by Essential Evidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, editor-in-chief.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.

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