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Pediatrics. 1982 Dec;70(6):912-20.

Practices and attitudes toward breast-feeding among medical professionals.


The results of a mail survey conducted among pediatricians, obstetricians, family practitioners, and nurses, and results of an adjunct survey conducted among hospital administrators are presented. According to the findings, breast-feeding is advocated by physicians; however, the topic is not always initiated, so the mother is influenced by other sources. Supplementary foods and vitamins are advocated to varying degrees and not necessarily in keeping with present knowledge about nutrition. Physicians are willing to counsel mothers regarding problems with breast-feeding and feel that further physician encouragement is necessary for more breast-feeding or longer breast-feeding. Mothers should have an opportunity during pregnancy, while they are in the hospital, and postnatally to learn as much as they can about feeding methods. The obstetrician can initiate earlier discussion with the mother on feeding methods and can assume a more aggressive role in initiating this discussion. In the hospital, a mother who chooses to breast-feed can be assisted in having a successful breast-feeding experience by spending as much time as possible with her infant starting with the period immediately following birth. Postnatally, physicians can encourage successful breast-feeding and breast-feeding of longer duration by not encouraging the early initiation of supplements and solid foods. The increasing trend in breast-feeding can best be facilitated by these positive actions taken by physicians, nurses, and health care facilities.

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