Breastfeeding intentions of female physicians

Maryam Sattari, David Levine, Amanda Bertram, Janet R. Serwint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: It is known that physician mothers' breastfeeding behavior impacts their anticipatory guidance to their patients, which in turn influences patients' breastfeeding initiation and continuation. Therefore, studying physician mothers' breastfeeding behavior is important, as it impacts not only the well-being of themselves and their families, but eventually the well-being of their patients and patients' families. However, previous studies of breastfeeding among physician mothers in the United States have not explored their breastfeeding intentions. We therefore sought to explore infant feeding intentions of physician mothers. Methods: We report data gathered from 50 physician volunteers, mainly affiliated with Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), using a questionnaire. Results: Consistent with previous physician studies, we found high breastfeeding initiation rates among our participants. However, the breastfeeding continuation rates of mothers in our study at 6 and 12 months were higher than those reported in previous physician studies. Our data showed that while physician mothers intended to breastfeed 64% of the infants for at least 12 months and while 97% of infants were breastfed at birth, only 41% continued to receive breastmilk at 12 months. This discrepancy suggests that work-related factors may influence physician mothers' breastfeeding behavior and might have a larger impact than these mothers' education and intentions on breastfeeding duration. Conclusion: This finding supports implementing workplace strategies and programs to promote breastfeeding duration among physician mothers returning to work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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