1 in 4 Men Would Breastfeed To Help Baby

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1 in 4 Men Would Breastfeed To Help Baby
Men would be as likely as women to breastfeed if this would help to boost their baby's immune system and IQ.

In a survey conducted by TheBabyWebsite nearly one in four or 24.5 per cent of men in England and Wales said that they would follow Government recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months provided that they were physically able to do so.

In comparison only one in four women were still breastfeeding their babies by the age of six months according to the 2005 Infant Feeding Survey. Seventy-six per cent breastfed their babies from birth.

The national feeding survey, which is conducted every five years, found that well-educated, professional women aged 30 or over who were first time mothers were the most likely to breastfeed.

Among the men surveyed by The Baby Website the findings were quite similar.

dad cuddling baby
Of the 110 men questioned - all of whom are fathers - nearly 30 per cent of 26-31 year-olds said they would definitely breastfeed if they were able to. This compares to approximately 20 per cent or one in five of 32-40 year-olds.

When asked whether their female partners also gave breastfeeding a go, 88 per cent said yes. Of those respondents who would consider breastfeeding themselves, only three said their partners opted out from the start.

What's more, nearly half of those men who said that they would want to breastfeed themselves were also breastfed as babies. A third said they did not know.

For father and co-founder of TheBabyWebsite Nigel Crawford these findings were very interesting.

'Although past research has shown that most men want their children to be breastfed, they are usually left out of the loop when it comes to public awareness campaigns relating to breastfeeding.

'As a father, I was quite surprised to learn that men can actually lactate and breastfeed and many have been doing so since the 1900s. That being said, however, I think that it is very encouraging to see that men are increasingly willing to be involved in all aspects of parenting - even if it were to mean breastfeeding themselves.'

Midwife and breastfeeding expert Sharon Trotter agrees:

'The decision to breastfeed should be seen as the 'norm' and is the most natural, healthy choice a parent can make.'

'Aside from the well-known advantages conferred by breastfeeding, from boosting of a baby's immune system and prevention of tooth decay to post-natal weight loss for Mum, parents can feel secure in the knowledge that they are giving their children the best possible start in life.'

The survey conducted by TheBabyWebsite also reveals:

Bullet 96% of men are aware of the many benefits of breastfeeding
Bullet 84% said they were aware of Government recommendations to breastfeed baby exclusively for the first six months
Bullet 16% said they were aware that men were physically able to lactate. Of these seven read about it on the internet, three saw it on a TV programme, three heard about it from friends or their partner and one read about it in a newspaper article.
Bullet 73% said their partners discussed the various feeding options with them prior to making a decision
Bullet of those influencers such as health visitors or GPs, 20% said their midwife played the most important role in making them aware of the various feeding options available.

November 2007

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