Objective. Public awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding is expected to increase during and after the national, federally funded Best Start Breastfeeding Promotion Campaign. It is anticipated that this will result in more breastfeeding-based interactions between families and pediatricians. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a survey of its members to identify their educational needs regarding breastfeeding to assist in the design of appropriate information programs.
Method. An eight-page, self-administered questionnaire was sent to 1602 active Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Results. The response rate was 71%. Breastfeeding, as the exclusive feeding practice for the first month after birth, was recommended by only 65% of responding pediatricians; only 37% recommended breastfeeding for 1 year. A majority of pediatricians agreed with or had a neutral opinion about the statement that breastfeeding and formula-feeding are equally acceptable methods for feeding infants. Reasons given for not recommending breastfeeding included medical conditions with known treatments that did not preclude breastfeeding. The majority of pediatricians (72%) were unfamiliar with the contents of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The majority of pediatricians had not attended a presentation on breastfeeding management in the previous 3 years; most said they wanted more education on breastfeeding management.
Conclusion. Pediatricians have significant educational needs in the area of breastfeeding management. breastfeeding, education, pediatricians, survey.
- Received November 21, 1997.
- Accepted November 9, 1998.
- Copyright © 1999 American Academy of Pediatrics