Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
PONTES, Cleide M.; ALEXANDRINO, Aline C. and OSORIO, Mônica M.. The participation of fathers in the breastfeeding process: experiences, knowledge, behaviors and emotions. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2008, vol.84, n.4, pp. 357-364. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572008000400012.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the experiences, knowledge, behaviors and emotions of fathers with relation to the process of breastfeeding. METHODS: This is a descriptive, explorative and qualitative study involving 17 couples resident in a favela in the city of Recife, PE, in the Northeast of Brazil, whose most recent child was aged between 6 and 8 months. A semi-structured interview employing leading questions was used for data collection. These data were analyzed in the light of theoretical references, the historical, social and cultural construction of fatherhood, by means of thematic content analysis. RESULTS: Four themes emerged from this analysis: faint/ambiguous memories of breastfeeding during childhood; knowledge about breastfeeding is focused on the child's health, mother's responsibility and savings for father; breastfeeding-related behavior of father during his participation in the pregnancy-childcare cycle; and interconnected feelings of fragility when breastfeeding. CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge and emotions involved in fathers' participation in breastfeeding are the products of socialization of both men and women, centered on the biological body and reinforcing the belief that breastfeeding is the preserve of women.
Keywords : Breastfeeding; fatherhood; emotions; delivery.