Comparison of Support for Breastfeeding beyond 12 Months of Age from Conventional and Alternative Pediatric Primary Care Providers

Sarah A. Keim, Alexis Tchaconas, Andrew Adesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Conventional medicine pediatric care providers (e.g., pediatricians) have been shown to be influential in women's decisions to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. Alternative pediatric care providers (e.g., naturopaths and chiropractors) may also provide breastfeeding support, but this has not been the subject of prior research. Our objective was to compare breastfeeding mothers' perceptions of support from these two provider types in a large sample of women who breastfed for more than 12 months. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 49,091 U.S. women through online questionnaire distributed through peer breastfeeding groups. We used log-binomial regression to compare those who used an alternative pediatric healthcare provider to care for their child to those who used a conventional provider on perceptions of support and key factors influencing the decision to breastfeed for more than 12 months. Results: Those who used an alternative provider were more likely to discuss breastfeeding (Adj RR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.17-1.33), feel comfortable discussing breastfeeding (Adj RR = 1.17; 95% CI 1.15-1.19), and feel supported by the provider (Adj RR = 1.25; 95% CI 1.23-1.28). However, providers' recommendations were not important factors in these women's decision to breastfeed beyond 12 months of age. Conclusions: Mothers who used an alternative care provider as their child's primary source of healthcare rated the provider's breastfeeding support more favorable than those who used a conventional provider (usually a pediatrician). Improving breastfeeding support may be one way to retain families in conventional pediatric primary care, and thereby, ensure children receive comprehensive, evidence-based care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-350
Number of pages6
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Breastfeeding
  • alternative medicine
  • complementary medicine
  • infant
  • primary care provider


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