Breastfeeding experiences among physicians

Candy Riggins, Marc B. Rosenman, Kinga A. Szucs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: During medical school and residency training, physicians are taught that breastfeeding is the preferred feeding for all infants, with rare exceptions. But evidence is accumulating that while physician mothers have a high rate of breastfeeding initiation, they face significant obstacles to sustained breastfeeding. Methods: In our academic medical center, we conducted a brief survey of physicians who have young children, to explore their own experiences with breastfeeding. The survey explored the physician-as-parent's own experiences with breastfeeding-prenatal intentions, postnatal difficulties, ability to meet goals, emotions if goals were not met, resources for support pre- and postnatally, and ideas about what would have helped her breastfeed longer. Results: Two-thirds of the physicians who initiated breastfeeding had difficulties. Among those with difficulties, about three-fourths were able to resolve them. Conclusions: Even mothers who are medical professionals experience, and often cannot overcome, difficulties with breastfeeding. Women in medicine need enhanced breastfeeding support and services/resources. Advocacy is needed, in our work environments, for better breastfeeding support not only for our physician colleagues, but also for all lactating employees within our institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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