Electronic communication with patients for breastfeeding support

Jennifer R. Thomas, Ulfat Shaikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The Internet has become an important tool for patients seeking to expand their knowledge of health conditions and medications. Breastfeeding initiation and duration increase because of physician encouragement. Therefore, electronic communication potentially provides additional opportunities for physicians to inform, reassure, encourage, and support breastfeeding families. An e-mail from a breastfeeding mother may deal with a topic well-suited to e-mail communication, such as information on the safety of specific medications during breastfeeding, or may deal with a concern that would make observation of breastfeeding necessary. Physicians have expressed qualms about electronic communication with patients due to privacy, malpractice liability, time, and reimbursement issues. Strategies to optimize e-mail communication include establishing a turnaround time for responses, informing patients of privacy issues, establishing what types of messages are appropriate over e-mail, and setting limits for when an e-mailed concern escalates to a need for an office visit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-279
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Breastfeeding
  • E-mail
  • Electronic communication
  • Empowerment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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