Fathers Who Feed Their Infants and Other Facets of Early Child Care Involvement among African-American Men from Low-Income Families

Judith B. Borja, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Barbara Goldman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Margaret Bentley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding the mechanism through which fathers influence child outcomes requires careful assessment of their child care involvement. This study examines 179 low-income African-American families with 3 month old infants. We define “considerable child care involvement” as being regular caregivers, responsible for at least half of their infants’ feedings, and resides in the same household as the mother and child (7% of fathers). About 21% of the fathers were involved in some form or amount of child care. There were 60 (33.52%) resident fathers, of these 46.67% were involved in some child care. The father’s presence in the household strongly predicted degree of involvement. However, 12% of the non-resident fathers provided some care. These results highlight an important facet of paternal involvement: 12% of the fathers were responsible for a significant proportion of feedings (>=50%). Fathers are involved in feeding; the design of intervention strategies should reflect that.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course