Physician-led outpatient breastfeeding medicine clinics in the United States

Ulfat Shaikh, Christina M. Smillie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Attrition of exclusive breastfeeding is highest during the first 3 months postpartum. Timely management of breastfeeding in the outpatient setting through innovative models of healthcare delivery may increase its duration and exclusivity. Our goal was to examine the structure and function of physician-led clinics in the United States that specialize in providing outpatient clinical support for breastfeeding-related issues ("breastfeeding medicine clinics"). We posted a survey on Listservs of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. The survey collected information on (1) clinic and physician demographics, (2) visit characteristics, (3) referral and reimbursement, (4) clinical activities, (5) continuing education resources, (6) teaching/education activities, and (7) advocacy activities, of physician-led outpatient breastfeeding medicine clinics. Lead physicians from 13 clinics responded to the survey. Their clinics provided clinical care for timeintensive breastfeeding problems. The clinics we described that were in existence longer than 2 years appeared to be economically sustainable. Most physicians who had provided specialized breastfeeding support for more than 5 years reported that their income was commensurate with others in their specialty. Most physicians who provided specialized breastfeeding medicine care additionally provided primary care services within the same clinical setting. Further research into fiscal and organizational aspects of establishing specialized physician-led breastfeeding clinics is needed. The potential of such clinics in contributing to collaborative practicebased research, as well as medical student and house staff education, needs to be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery
  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy


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