Louisa Polglass, Jo Leonardi-Bee, Alexander Morris, Rachael Murray, Rachael Murray
Journal of Health Visiting, Vol. 7, Iss. 1, 16 Jan 2019, pp 24 - 29

Breastfeeding provides a range of positive health benefits for both mother and baby. Due to maternal exemption of dental charges, dentists have the access and opportunity to provide information to expectant and nursing mothers, and are in an optimal position to positively influence breastfeeding behaviour. A cross-sectional survey of early career dentists in the East Midlands was conducted. The survey questionnaire assessed levels of confidence, knowledge and practice regarding breastfeeding. Barriers identified in supporting and encouraging breastfeeding were lack of knowledge (81%; n=57), lack of confidence (63%; n=44) and lack of time (52%; n=36). Approximately two thirds reported they had never received training and a majority felt they would benefit from this (86%; n=60). Early career dentists in the East Midlands reported limited knowledge and a lack of confidence in the delivery of breastfeeding advice. Wider incorporation of training into undergraduate and postgraduate programmes could be considered, which may improve breastfeeding rates.

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