Breastfeeding among Pediatric Emergency Physicians Rates, Barriers, and Support

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Physician mothers are at risk for early cessation of breastfeeding, in part because of challenges associated with returning to work. Given the inherent unpredictability of emergency medicine practice, we hypothesized that pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physicians would face unique challenges in continuing breastfeeding while working in their field. The aims of this study were to determine the 6-month breastfeeding rates of PEM physicians, gain insight into their experiences expressing breast milk while working in pediatric emergency departments, and determine factors that support or discourage successful breastfeeding. Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey of members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine via its quarterly membership survey program. Separate survey pathways were developed for respondents who had ever breastfed and those who had not. Results: One hundred ninety-three responded; 91 had breastfed, and 102 had not. Of those who breastfed, 90% did so for 6 months or longer. Mean (SD) duration was 12.5 (7.1) months (range, 2–48 months). Of those who expressed milk at work, only 7.6% felt they “always” had sufficient time to pump; 32% felt they “always” had what they considered to be an appropriate location to pump. Breastfeeding duration rate of at least 6 months was higher for those (66%) who “sometimes” to “always” had access to what they felt were appropriate locations to pump than for those (34%) who “never” or “occasionally” did (98 vs 85%, P = 0.048). Eighty-six percent of respondents who had never breastfed reported being “very supportive” of expressing milk at work. Conclusions: Breastfeeding PEM physicians have high 6-month breastfeeding rates, and many express milk at work. Although colleagues report being supportive, barriers of perceived lack of sufficient time to pump and appropriate pumping locations remain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1372-E1377
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All who have contributed significantly to this work have been listed as authors above. Kari Schneider and Marissa Hendrickson wrote the first draft of the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The NIH had no role in the design and conduct of the study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The authors would like to thank Dr Maryam Sattari for providing the survey text used in her 2014 study, for reference.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • breast milk
  • breastfeeding
  • pumping

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Breastfeeding among Pediatric Emergency Physicians Rates, Barriers, and Support'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this