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Small Grant: Viet Nam | Breastfeeding campaign targeting fathers

October 28, 2014

A breastfeeding campaign targeting fathers was associated with increased rates of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding in Viet Nam


To examine whether breastfeeding (BF) education to promote fathers’ involvement in BF is associated with higher rates of BF support and recommended BF practices.

Design, setting, and participants

This study used a non-randomized pre-post-test design with an intervention group and a control group.  The study took place in rural communes and semi-rural townships in Hai Duong Province in northern Viet Nam, and enrolled 492 pregnant women and their husbands.


A 1-year BF education campaign targeting fathers-to-be included the delivery of BF messages over local loudspeaker systems, group counseling for fathers at health facilities, and individual counseling for fathers in their homes.

Outcome measures and analysis

Mean scores for fathers’ BF knowledge and attitudes were compared between the control and intervention groups using analysis of covariance.  The proportion of fathers who reported doing selected BF support behaviors and the rates of early BF initiation (BF within the first hour of birth) and exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) at 4 and 6 months were compared between groups using logistic regression.


Compared to fathers in the control group, fathers in the intervention group had higher BF knowledge scores and more positive attitudes towards early BF initiation and EBF, but not towards helping support the mother to breastfeed.  For 13 of the 30 BF support actions encouraged, there was a significant difference between groups in the proportion of fathers who reported implementing those actions – all higher in the intervention group.  Mothers in the intervention group had significantly higher rates of early BF initiation and exclusive breastfeeding at 4 months  (22% vs. 15%) and 6 months (9% vs. 1%).

Conclusions and implications

A BF education campaign targeting fathers in Viet Nam was associated with increases in fathers’ BF knowledge, positive attitudes towards BF, and performance of certain supportive behaviors; as well as rates of early breastfeeding initiation and exclusive  breastfeeding.  A larger, randomized study is needed to replicate these findings and provide stronger evidence for national policies.  Health care staff should consider integrating fathers’ counseling into maternal and child health services.


Bich TH, Hoa DT, Målqvist M. Fathers as supporters for improved exclusive breastfeeding in Viet Nam. J Matern Child Health. 2013 Oct 26. doi 10.1007/s10995-013-1384-9. Download abstract.

Bich TH, Hoa DTP. Changes in fathers’ knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding for a child’s first six months in life: Findings from a community intervention study in a rural area of Vietnam. Vietnam Journal of Public Health
10.2012, No 1 (1).  Download paper.

Alive & Thrive case study

“Dads can do that! Strategies to involve fathers in child feeding”


An interventional study on health education to promote fathers’ involvement in breastfeeding in Viet Nam. Download file below.

Collaborating institutions

  • Hanoi School of Public Health (Viet Nam) designed and managed the study, analyzed the data, and published the results.
  • The District Health Center of Chi Linh in collaboration with the Local Farmer Association (Viet Nam) implemented the study interventions.

Principal investigator & project director

  • Tran Huu Bich, MD, PhD, Deputy Dean for Research and Associate Professor, Hanoi School of Public Health
Resource Attachments: (pdf)




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