Section 5: Successful Breastfeeding Requires Support – What Pediatricians Can Do to Support Breastfeeding

AAP has noted pediatricians’ critical role in their individual practices, communities, and society at large to serve as advocates and supporters of successful breastfeeding.

The AAP website39 provides a wealth of breastfeeding-related material and resources to assist and support pediatricians in their critical role as advocates of infant well-being.

  • This includes the Safe and Healthy Beginnings toolkit,37 which includes resources for physician’s office for promotion of breastfeeding in a busy pediatric practice setting, a pocket guide for coding to facilitate appropriate payment, suggested guidelines for telephone triage of maternal breastfeeding concerns, and information regarding employer support for breastfeeding in the workplace.
  • Evidence-based protocols from organizations such as the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine provide detailed clinical guidance for management of specific issues.40

The critical role that pediatricians play is highlighted by the recommended health supervision visit at 3 to 5 days of age, which is within 48 to 72 hours after discharge from the hospital, as well as pediatricians’ support of practices that avoid non–medically indicated supplementation with commercial infant formula.39 The pediatrician may be the only health care provider that the mother sees in the first week post-discharge.

Pediatricians also should serve as breastfeeding advocates and educators and not solely delegate this role to staff or non-medical/lay volunteers.

Communicating with families that breastfeeding is a medical priority that is enthusiastically recommended by their personal pediatrician will build support for mothers in the early weeks postpartum.