A shared responsibility : The genesis of the project

Why talk about fatherhood and breastfeeding?

In 2006, the Nourri-Source Federation launched a 20-minute video to address the issue of fathers and breastfeeding.

In 2020, nearly 14 years later, why do we need to revisit the subject? Because the situation has evolved a little, but not that much!

The female presumption

Even today, much of society sends the message that women are primarily responsible for the domestic and parenting spheres.

The female presumption helps to perpetuate the idea that childcare is a woman's occupation.

It is a barrier - sometimes subtle - that recognizes a greater competence in mothers, where partners play a secondary role.

Some fathers even mention feeling "secondary" during pregnancy monitoring, childbirth and subsequent meetings with certain health professionals.

It is therefore understandable that fathers sometimes offer resistance, because they feel inadequate and left out, not finding their place in breastfeeding and baby care.

However, there are a thousand ways to get involved, to be useful and, above all, to feel connected to the child, just as the mother does with breastfeeding.

Similar situations are experienced by same-sex families, who also face other challenges in the adventure of parenthood. Some families choose to co-breastfeed, but the literature on this topic is quite thin.

maman qui allaite bébé

Providing information

A difficult decision had to be made when the current project was created: should it address fathers more specifically, or partners more generally?  

Research has shown that in order for fathers to feel engaged, they need to be named rather than included in a broader term (e.g., partner, parent). Men's ways of knowing and learning would generally be different from that of women.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, many women - whether they have carried a child or not - have integrated childcare as a socially imposed norm. Therefore, for this current project, it was agreed to focus on fathers, while keeping in mind the diversity of families.

Prenatal preparation and information are valuable for both mothers and fathers to encourage the involvement of both parents in breastfeeding. Importantly, it is well documented that partner support is one of the most influential factors in the mother's breastfeeding experience.

However, advertising, blogs and books on parenting and breastfeeding are primarily aimed at women. Knowing that the way information is conveyed can reinforce the father's withdrawal or, on the contrary, be a source of awakening and encouragement to the "team" dimension that awaits them, it is crucial to pay attention to it

Tools on breastfeeding, fatherhood and co-parenting

A "new" player to consider: co-parenting

Co-parenting is defined as the willingness to put the importance of working together, communication and recognition of each other's contribution to the parenting team at the center of discussions.

The development of this collaborative spirit and the understanding of complementary yet different roles contribute to the positive experience of parenthood and to the maintenance of the couple's life.

These tools aim to encourage fathers' involvement in breastfeeding and newborn care.

To achieve this, it was obviously necessary to better understand their reality, their experiences, their resistance and their needs.

A partnership with the Regroupement pour la valorisation de la paternité (RVP) greatly contributed to integrating fathers in the process of creating tools that reflect their image and contain content that resonates with them.

In order to encourage fathers' involvement in breastfeeding, it seemed necessary to address them directly to talk about the important role they can play. A comic strip and short videos were chosen as communication tools because of their ease of distribution and their ability to quickly convey essential messages.

Tools for everyone

allaitement bambin couple


Finally, it is important to keep in mind that families who choose to breastfeed are in contact with many caregivers.

A section of resources for breastfeeding mentors, health professionals and community organization workers is therefore available to complete this toolbox.




Inclusion Statement 

« At Nourri-Source Montreal, we treat the uniqueness and diversity of each individual and family with great respect. We welcome all families: single-parent, adoptive, foster, ethnocultural, two-parent (regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity), blended, extended, polyparental, transgender, multi-parental, with children living with their parent(s) or not, etc. We value a diversity of people, values and perspectives in order to build a strong and inclusive community. » While this project is primarily, by its nature, destined for fathers, it is not exclusively for them. See the article on The genesis of the project for more details.