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South Med J. 2012 May;105(5):243-8. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3182522927.

Pediatricians', obstetricians', gynecologists', and family medicine physicians' experiences with and attitudes about breast-feeding.

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  • 1From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso 79905, USA.



Investigate physicians' breast-feeding experiences and attitudes using a survey based on two behavioral theories: theory of reasoned action (TRA) and the health belief model (HBM).


There were 73 participants included in the investigation. These participants were resident and faculty physicians from pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, and family medicine at a university campus, located on the US-Mexico border. The sample was reduced to 53 and 56 records for the attitude and confidence variables, respectively. Physicians answered a survey about their breast-feeding experiences and attitudes to learn about intention and ability applying constructs from TRA and HBM. An attitude scale, confidence variable (from self-efficacy items), and a lactation training index were created for the analysis.


Analysis of the association between physicians' breastfeeding experiences and their attitudes revealed physicians are knowledgeable about breast-feeding and have positive attitudes towards breast-feeding. They did not seem to remember how long they breast-fed their children or whether they enjoyed breast-feeding, but they wanted to continue breast-feeding. Physicians cite work as a main reason for not continuing to breast-feed.


Physicians' attitudes toward breast-feeding are positive. They are expected to practice health-promotion behavior including breast-feeding; however, physicians' breast-feeding rates are low and although they are knowledgeable about breast-feeding their training lacks on didactic depth and hands-on experience. If physicians learn more about breast-feeding and breast-feed exclusively and successfully, the rates in the United States would increase naturally.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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