Prenatal office practices regarding infant feeding choices

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2006 Nov;45(9):841-5. doi: 10.1177/0009922806294220.


The objective of this study was to determine the obstetric care providers' roles in breast-feeding promotion during prenatal care. A questionnaire addressing breast-feeding issues was sent to family practitioners (FP), obstetric-gynecologists (OB/GYN), and nurse midwives (NM) in Iowa, USA. All NM, 97% of FP, and 85% of OB/GYN reported asking infant feeding preference-usually only at the first prenatal visit. NM (73%) were most likely to provide extensive breast-feeding counseling. OB/GYN (68%) and FP physicians (90%) reported doing their own breast-feeding counseling. Breast examinations targeting future breast-feeding problems were done in 82% to 84% of patients. NM practices shared more information supportive of breast-feeding. Nearly all providers offered prenatal classes, but only 41% of FP offered breast-feeding classes. Free formula samples were available in 73% of FP, 54% of OB/GYN, and 36% NM offices. Pamphlets on formula feeding and also breast-feeding were readily available. Overall NM (64%) reported being strong breast-feeding advocates compared to only 13% of FP and 7% of OB/GYN. In conclusion, little promotion of breast-feeding occurs in most prenatal practice settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bottle Feeding*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Counseling
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Gynecology / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Infant Formula
  • Iowa
  • Mothers / education
  • Nurse Midwives / statistics & numerical data
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Pamphlets
  • Physician's Role
  • Physicians' Offices*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Professional Practice*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires