Investigating maternal perspectives of breastfeeding support targeted towards fathers in the Milk Man mobile app intervention
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Background The support of her infant’s father is one of the most important factors influencing a mother’s breastfeeding success, and an increasing number of interventions are targeted towards fathers. Engaging fathers as agents to influence a maternal behavior is potentially problematic, yet few studies report on maternal experiences.
Objective This study aims to explore mothers’ perspectives of their partners’ use of Milk Man, a father-focused breastfeeding smartphone app, and the acceptability of this approach.
Materials and methods New mothers (N = 459) whose partners had access to the app completed a questionnaire at six weeks postpartum. These data were used to determine knowledge, use and perspectives of the app. A sentiment analysis was conducted on responses to an open-ended question seeking maternal perspectives of the app.
Results Just over a quarter of mothers (28%) had been shown something from the app, and 37% had discussed something from Milk Man with their partner. There were 162 open-ended responses related to mothers’ perspectives of the app. Relevant responses (n = 129) were coded to an overall sentiment node and then to a total of 23 child nodes (sub-nodes). Most comments were positive (94), with a smaller number either negative (25) or neutral (21). Negative comments related to the usability of the app and not its intent or content.
Conclusion Mothers found the father-focussed breastfeeding app to be acceptable. When designing interventions targeting one group to affect the behaviour of another, inclusion of measures to gain the perspectives of both should be seen as an imperative.
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