What is the Parent Infant Feeding Initiative?
The Parent Infant Feeding Initiative (PIFI) is an infant feeding intervention designed to increase breastfeeding duration, and decrease the early introduction of solids (1). The research is targeted at families, but channelled through the male partner. The PIFI builds on many years of research by academics at Curtin University in Perth, and is a follow on study, and extension of the Fathers Infant Feeding Initiative that was carried out in Perth hospitals in 2008 (2). The PIFI study is funded by Healthway.
Why target dads?
We know that the support of dads is very important to breastfeeding success. In fact research tells us that dads have a major influence on a woman’s decision to breastfeed, and how long she breastfeeds for.
What does the study involve?
Recruitment for the study was completed in December 2016. The PIFI team recruited a total of 1426 couples to the study through antenatal sessions at public and private hospitals in the Perth metropolitan area. Participants were asked to complete three questionnaires, one when they signed up to the study, one 6 weeks after their baby was born, and one when their baby was 6 months old. The PIFI is a randomised control trial and couples were randomised via their antenatal class into one of four groups:
The first group of fathers participated in a Male facilitated antenatal class.
The second group of fathers had access to Milk Man, a smartphone app, which provided them with antenatal and postnatal support and ideas and information for how they can support their partner to breastfeed.
The third group of fathers participated in the antenatal classes and also had access to the Milk Man smartphone app.
The fourth group was the control group and received the usual antenatal and postnatal activities that are offered by the maternity hospital.
To our knowledge, the PIFI study will be the first Australian study to provide Level II evidence of the impact on breastfeeding duration of a comprehensive, multi-level, male-partner-focused breastfeeding intervention.
The use of a smartphone application to target fathers in a breastfeeding initiative is an innovative and new approach. This study will provide important information about what works in targeting mHealth interventions, as well as evaluating health outcomes.
The last recruited couples will complete the 6 month folllow-up in August 2017 and preliminary study results are expected in late 2017.
For Further information
Please contact us for more information about the PIFI study.
1. Maycock BR, Scott JA, Hauck YL, Burns SK, Robinson S, Giglia R, et al. A study to prolong breastfeeding duration: design and rationale of the Parent Infant Feeding Initiative (PIFI) randomised controlled trial. BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2015;15(1):159. PubMed PMID: 26231519. Epub 2015/08/02. Eng.
2. Maycock B, Binns CW, Dhaliwal S, Tohotoa J, Hauck Y, Burns S, et al. Education and Support for Fathers Improves Breastfeeding Rates: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Human Lactation. 2013 November 1, 2013;29(4):484-90.