Parental Leave Policies and Pediatric Trainees in the United States

J Hum Lact. 2015 Aug;31(3):434-9. doi: 10.1177/0890334415585309. Epub 2015 May 6.


Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that each residency program should have a clearly delineated, written policy for parental leave. Parental leave has important implications for trainees' ability to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Objective: This study aimed to measure the knowledge and awareness among members of the AAP Section on Medical Students, Residents, and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT) regarding parental leave.

Methods: An online survey was emailed to SOMSRFT members in June 2013. Quantitative data are presented as percentage of respondents. Awareness of leave policies was analyzed based on having children and the sex of respondents.

Results: Nine hundred twenty-seven members responded to the survey. Among those with children, 40% needed to extend the duration of their training in order to have longer maternity leave, 44% of whom did so in order to breastfeed longer. Thirty percent of respondents did not know if their program had a written, accessible policy for parental leave. Trainees without children and men were more unaware of specific aspects of parental leave such as eligibility for the Family Medical Leave Act as compared to women and those with children.

Conclusion: Despite the fact that United States national policies support parental leave during pediatrics training, and a majority of programs comply, trainees' awareness regarding these policies needs improvement.

Keywords: breastfeeding; breastfeeding curriculum; parental leave; pediatric trainees.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Parental Leave / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Parental Leave / standards*
  • Parental Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult