Breastfeeding attitudes are known to influence infant feeding but little information exists on the prenatal breastfeeding attitudes of parents. The purpose of this study was to describe Finnish parents' prenatal breastfeeding attitudes and their relationships with demographic characteristics.
The electronic Breastfeeding Knowledge, Attitude and Confidence scale was developed and 172 people (123 mothers, 49 fathers) completed the study. The data were analysed using factor analysis and nonparametric methods.
Breastfeeding was regarded as important, but 54% of the respondents wanted both parents to feed the newborn. The mean rank values of breastfeeding attitudes differed significantly when parity, gender, education, age, breastfeeding history and level of breastfeeding knowledge were considered. The respondents who were expecting their first child, were 18-26 years old or had vocational qualifications or moderate breastfeeding knowledge had more negative feelings and were more worried about breastfeeding than respondents who had at least one child, had a higher vocational diploma or academic degree or had high levels of breastfeeding knowledge. Respondents with high levels of breastfeeding knowledge did not appear concerned about equality in feeding.
Both mothers and fathers found breastfeeding important. A father's eagerness to participate in their newborn's life should be included in prenatal breastfeeding counselling and ways in which to support breastfeeding discussed. Relevant information about breastfeeding should focus on the parents who are expecting their first child, those who are young, those with low levels of education or those who have gaps in breastfeeding knowledge, so that fears and negative views can be resolved.