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ABSTRACT: Many women in Western countries fail to breastfeed long enough. The aim of this study was to examine the attitudes and knowledge of Israeli family physicians (FPs), gynaecologists and paediatricians towards breastfeeding.
A questionnaire examined Physicians' attitudes towards breastfeeding and their role in encouraging it, their sources of information and adequacy of knowledge.
Four hundred and seventy-eight physicians responded to the survey: 123 FPs, 134 gynaecologists and 221 paediatricians. Ninety to -hundred per cent of physicians agreed that breastfeeding is the best feeding method for infants and agree that physicians should encourage it. Less than 20% of physicians discuss breastfeeding with pregnant women, and less than 30% discuss it with women 3 months or more postnatally. On average, physicians correctly answered 3.5 +/- 1.7 out of seven questions examining knowledge. Physicians state their main sources of information as their own experience and reading. One hundred and ninety physicians specified how they encourage breastfeeding--of those, 75.3% speak only of the advantages of breastfeeding.
Physicians have a positive disposition towards breastfeeding but their knowledge is somewhat low. It seems awareness is lacking to the importance of continuous support and practical guidance beginning before birth and continuing until 3 months or more postnatal.
Acta Paediatrica 07/2007; 96(6):848-51. · 1.97 Impact Factor