Breastfeeding support and promotion: The health professional's perspective

Douglas Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite their important role in breastfeeding promotion, there is a lack of research regarding professionals' attitudes towards breastfeeding, and the impact these may have on breastfeeding promotion.

Aim: To investigate health professionals' views regarding breastfeeding, the influences on those views, and how they have an impact on breastfeeding promotion.

Methods: In this qualitative study, 10 focus groups were carried out with health professionals involved with breastfeeding promotion.

Results: Several themes emerged. These were: powerlessness and pessimism, breastfeeding promotion vs coercion/education, and the function of breastfeeding promotion. Professionals felt positively towards breastfeeding, but saw their influence as minimal due to an array of external influences on the mother's decision. They felt that promotion was not always carried out appropriately, and were wary of moralising breastfeeding. Professionals felt their role was one of informing, rather than promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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