To review and summarise the available literature regarding breastfeeding experiences of medical students, residents and physicians.
Articles of any design, including non-peer reviewed data that examine the experiences of breast feeding of medical students, residents and staff physicians.
Ovid MEDLINE(R) and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Daily, Ovid EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science.
All peer-reviewed studies underwent risk-of-bias assessment using relevant tools, depending on the study design.
We included 71 citations; 51 surveys, 3 narrative descriptions, 9 editorials or letters to the editor, and 3 reviews.
Included articles were heterogeneous with respect to their study design, target population and outcomes reported. Most articles had a high risk of bias. Only five articles reported the impact of an intervention.
Despite heterogeneity, the majority of articles described important barriers to breast feeding for physicians, residents and medical students. These barriers were similar across studies, and included inadequate and inaccessible space, time constraints and inflexible scheduling, and lack of colleague support. The consequences of these barriers included low milk supply and early discontinuation of breast feeding.
Due to the observed heterogeneity of articles identified in this review, we are unable to assess trends in barriers or duration of breastfeeding over time.