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December 11, 2019

Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers During Dermatology Residency—Challenges and Best Practices

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Baylor Scott & White Health, Austin, Texas
  • 2Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 4Editor, JAMA Dermatology
JAMA Dermatol. 2020;156(2):117-118. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.3759

New parents face significant challenges when having a baby during dermatology residency1 that extend past pregnancy and new-parent leave. Many new mothers desire to breastfeed their babies, but barriers exist to continuing lactation on return to work that can affect resident well-being.1,2 On average, women who deliver a child during dermatology residency take a 6-week new-parent leave.1 Breastfeeding mothers who return to work need to use a breast pump to express milk for their infants. A female dermatology resident returning to work 6 weeks after giving birth needs to express milk approximately every 3 hours. There are significant medical implications if pumping sessions are missed, including clogged ducts, decreased milk supply, and subsequent risk of shorter breastfeeding duration. Women who take a leave of 6 weeks or less are already at a 3-fold risk of early breastfeeding cessation.3

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