Family Physicians Supporting Breastfeeding (Position Paper)

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)

This position paper by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) establishes breastfeeding as the physiological norm for human babies, provides information on the risks of not breastfeeding, and offers tips to support breastfeeding within a family's care system. Program staff who work with expectant families and health care providers may find this information useful.


The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has long supported breastfeeding. All family physicians, whether or not they provide maternity care, have a unique role in the promotion of breastfeeding. They understand the advantages of family-centered care and are well positioned to provide breastfeeding support in that context. Because they provide comprehensive care to the whole family, family physicians have an opportunity to provide breastfeeding education and support throughout the life cycle to all members of the family.

Family physicians may provide prenatal care and labor support, deliver the infant, help in the prompt initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, and continue caring for the baby and family. Breastfeeding education and support can be integrated into these visits. Family physicians have the unique opportunity to emphasize breastfeeding education beginning with preconception visits and continuing through prenatal care, delivery, postpartum care, and during ongoing care of the family. Encouragement from a physician and other family members, especially the baby's father and maternal grandmother, are important factors in the initiation of breastfeeding. In caring for a mother's immediate and extended family, a family physician should remind her social support system to encourage breastfeeding. Breastfeeding, Family Physician Supporting (Position Paper)