Physician Mothers and Breastfeeding: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Maryam Sattari, David M. Levine, Lazarus K. Mramba, Monica Pina, Reet Raukas, Elien Rouw, Janet R. Serwint

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To explore infant-feeding intentions and behavior of physician mothers as well as their breastfeeding enablers and obstacles. Study Design: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among female physicians with at least one biological child recruited through the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The main outcomes were duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and duration of any breastfeeding (BFD). We determined predictors of EBF and BFD. Results: The 570 participants reported intention to breastfeed at least 12 months in 78.1% of cases. Breastfeeding rates were 97.8%, 85.5%, and 55.4% at birth, 6, and 12 months. EBF rates were 88.5%, 76.3%, and 40.9% at birth, 3, and 6 months. Younger participant age, breastfeeding discontinuation not due to work-related demands, and heightened maternal satisfaction with BFD were associated with longer EBF and BFD. EBF at birth, less maternal stress, availability of time to express milk, and collegial support were associated with longer EBF. Longer maternal BFD goal, longer maternity leave, existence of laws or regulations to support breastfeeding among working mothers, later child order, and lower level of maternal depression were associated with longer BFD. Conclusions: Maternal infant-feeding intentions and work-related factors both play important roles in physician mothers' infant-feeding behavior. Longer maternity leave, regulations to support breastfeeding among working mothers, and workplace support might significantly improve physician mothers' BFD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • breastfeeding duration
  • exclusive breastfeeding
  • infant-feeding intention
  • physician mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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