Use this step-by-step guide to help you create or revise your institution's policy to best support medical trainees to breastfeed. 

Breastfeeding and lactation support for medical trainees affects their own health, the health of their children, and the health of the patients and families that they will take care of in the future. Having a breastfeeding and lactation support policy that details the rights of a medical trainee and the available resources can be a helpful starting point to the implementation of a robust breastfeeding and lactation support program. The goal of the policy is to allow medical trainees the opportunity to breastfeed or provide human milk to their children in a way that is supportive and respectful of their personal goals. Research has shown that when medical trainees choose to breastfeed, they often do not receive adequate support from their colleagues and institutions and are unable to meet their personal breastfeeding goals. This experience may be detrimental to the breastfeeding and lactation care and support that they offer to their future patients and families. 

Below you will find resources to help create or revise a breastfeeding and lactation support policy at your institution. The steps to guide this effort were created by a group of institutions that participated in a learning collaborative supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


  1. Review and understand the AAFP model policy Breastfeeding & Lactation Support for Medical Trainees.
  2. Obtain and review any existing breastfeeding and lactation support policies established at your institution. These may be found by contacting the Human Resources department at your institution or inquiring with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Designated Institutional Official (DIO).
  3. Consider if forming a workgroup would be helpful to reaching your goal and form if needed.
  4. Complete a pre-survey to   determine your institution’s current policy alignment with the AAFP model policy. A point value is assigned to each of the five domains in the survey: Policy; Lactation Facilities; Protected Time; Culture of Support; Responsibilities. Survey results will help identify areas for improvement as well as existing strengths. If a workgroup has been assembled this can be the first activity for the group.
  5. Distribute Resident Perspective Survey to determine how medical trainees within your site view existing lactation support. You may need to obtain leadership or Institutional Review Board approval to field this survey. Survey tools such as Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, or Google Forms may be helpful to efficiently distribute the survey.
  6. Use the presentations below to educate yourself or your workgroup about writing a breastfeeding and lactation support policy.
  7. Draft a new policy, revise an existing policy, or create an action plan to assist you in planning for creating a policy. Action plan resources are available below in Workgroup Tips and Procedures.
  8. Administer a post-survey to see if alignment to the AAFP model breastfeeding and lactation support has improved. Use this information to identify successes or areas for improvement.
  9. Work on getting the policy approved by the institution. Policy review and approval processes will vary by institution. Early in the policy drafting phase, members of the workgroup may want to confirm the policy approval process specific to their institution by contacting leadership in relevant departments. Depending on the scope of the policy, it may require approval from residency program directors, the designated insitutional official (DIO), Graduate Medical Education Committee. human resource (HR) leaders, a board of directors, and/or chief executive officer (CEO).  
  10. Once the policy is approved, return to the workgroup (if formed) to develop an implementation and dissemination plan.


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American Academy of Pediatrics