Providers of maternal and child healthcare are in a unique position to positively affect breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, yet underestimate the value of their support. A study of healthcare professionals providing care to women and their infants indicated that providers understand the benefits of breastfeeding but often lack breastfeeding knowledge and clinical practice skills. The CDC has published a document for providers, How Doctors Can Help, with suggestions on how the medical community can support their patients.
CDC recommendations to support breastfeeding are also available for nurses. Also, new strategies are being developed to bolster the outpatient support provided by the health care system, including the 9 Steps to Breastfeeding Friendly: Guidelines for Community Health Centers and Outpatient Care Settings, published by the California Department of Public Health. Implementation of strategies in this document is being carried out in clinics throughout California and will most likely have a positive effect on breastfeeding support. For evidence-based protocols on breastfeeding-related topics, refer to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.