Breastfeeding knowledge and practice of pediatric nurse practitioners

Pam Hellings, Carol Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction: The purpose of this secondary analysis is to examine and report on pediatric nurse practitioners' (PNPs') attitudes, experience, and knowledge about breastfeeding and to compare the results with those from a sample of pediatricians and other nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives. Method: A breastfeeding study questionnaire was sent to all PNPs (N = 95) in a northwestern state. The response rate was 81%. Results: Respondents were nearly unanimous in their belief that "breast is best" and that it was their role to recommend breastfeeding to expectant mothers. In general, 74% of respondents believed they were effective or very effective in meeting the needs of breastfeeding patients. Although they were very supportive of breastfeeding, they were less knowledgeable about specific management strategies. Personal experience (nearly three fourths had themselves breastfed) was named by many as the most valuable source of information. Although PNPs appeared to have a more supportive attitude and better information than pediatric physicians, they reported themselves to be less effective in providing breastfeeding assistance than did their pediatric physician colleagues. Discussion: PNPs generally agreed about the importance of promoting breastfeeding and their effectiveness in doing so. However, many PNPs did not gain experience in breastfeeding support and management in their educational programs and incorrectly answered questions on basic management strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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