Small grant: Fathers as supporters for improved exclusive breastfeeding in Viet Nam

October 26, 2013

This study aimed to understand exclusive breastfeeding practices among mothers of four and six-month-old infants whose fathers received breastfeeding education materials and counseling services. Fathers in the intervention area received breastfeeding education materials, counseling services at commune health centers, and household visits. In the control site, where mothers routinely receive services on antenatal and postpartum care, fathers did not receive any intervention services on promoting breastfeeding. Analysis showed that the intervention was strongly associated with exclusive breastfeeding practices at four and six months after controlling for potential confounding factors. To improve exclusive breastfeeding, health care staff working in maternal and child health units, should consider integrating fathers with services delivered to mothers and children. The replication of the model in other settings should consider the availability and functions of the health care network including health workers at the peripheral level, and issues involving the social network of fathers and barriers the fathers need to overcome to be effectively become involved in child care.

The goal of the Alive & Thrive (A&T) Grants Program (2009 to 2014) was to identify new solutions for scaling up effective and sustainable interventions to improve infant and young child feeding by linking research to program delivery. A&T awarded eight two-year grants in 2010 and four in 2011. The Grants Program was managed by the University of California, Davis.