Men’s views and experiences of infant feeding: A qualitative systematic review

Earle, Sarah and Hadley, Robin (2018). Men’s views and experiences of infant feeding: A qualitative systematic review. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 14(3), article no. e12586.



While the advantages of breastfeeding are well documented, rates for breastfeeding often fall short of international and national targets. Increasing attention has been paid to the role of men in infant feeding but a lot of the research about men has been elicited from women, rather than from men themselves. To explore these issues further, a systematic review of the qualitative research on infant feeding was carried out, focusing specifically on men’s own views and experiences. Evidence was identified by searching electronic databases (CINAL, Cochrane, PubMed and Scopus), manually searching citations, and by searching the grey literature. Studies were included in the review if they discussed men’s views and experiences of infant feeding and if they reported primary qualitative data. A total of 20 research papers were included in the review and each study was summarised and then analysed thematically to produce a synthesis. Five major analytical themes were identified: men’s knowledge of infant feeding; men’s perceptions of their role in infant feeding; positive views on breastfeeding; negative views on breastfeeding; and, men’s experiences of health promotion and support. The review concludes by highlighting that while men can play an important role in supporting women, they do not have a significant role in infant feeding decisions.

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