For three years we have monitored and reported on research on father support for breastfeeding
and we have written a White Paper on what research says for practice.



The project is based on what research has shown works considerably better than the traditional approach of just engaging with mothers:

  • Inform fathers of the value of breastfeeding to their babies and their wives/partners. Inform them of how fathers influence breastfeeding.

  • Support mothers and fathers to work together as a team around breastfeeding. That means mutual support and respect for individual autonomy.

  • Promote the baby-father bond - this actually improves mother-baby bonding and breastfeeding.

Photo above: Perapat, 32, helps his wife, Wanichcha, to breastfeed their one-day-old son, nicknamed John. "The first moment I saw him, my tears welled up. I think he looks like my wife.” (Chiang Mai, Thailand). © UNICEF/UN0203786/Zehbrauskas

We have also carried out research in Uganda to explore why current approaches to engaging fathers are not sustained beyond pilot projects. A key problem is that these programmes are not designed and delivered with fathers but are designed as things done to them from above. Fathers tend to be seen as a problem to be fixed, but evidence suggests that fathers can lead change.

To this end we are applying two principles:

  • Design and build the service with fathers.

  • Reach out to fathers through fathers who already live the new social norm characterised by caring and equality with women.


In 2018 we issued a joint Fathers Day statement with WABA.

"The love of a father is a foundation for the future of a child. When mothers, fathers and family members work as a team around the care of children, it creates a haven within which these children can grow and thrive as mentioned in the adage 'it takes a village to raise a child'".