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Birth. 1995 Mar;22(1):15-20.

Beliefs about breastfeeding: a statewide survey of health professionals.


A statewide project was implemented in 1993 to increase breastfeeding among low-income women in North Carolina through improved institutional policies and practices and professional lactation-management skills. A survey designed to ascertain professional beliefs about breastfeeding was mailed to 31 hospitals and 25 public health agencies. A total of 2209 health professionals completed the survey and met the study selection criteria. Nutritionists and pediatricians were most likely to have positive beliefs about breastfeeding, whereas hospital nurses were most likely to have negative beliefs. Personal breastfeeding experience contributed to positive beliefs. Professionals were least convinced of the emotional benefits of breastfeeding. Those with negative beliefs were most likely to advocate complete infant weaning from the breast before nine months of age. Although most health professionals had positive beliefs about breastfeeding, differences by profession, work environment, and personal breastfeeding experience indicate the need for comprehensive training in lactation management, and improvements in hospital and public health clinic environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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