J Korean Med Sci.  2022 Apr;37(15):e120. 10.3346/jkms.2022.37.e120.

Survey on the Status of Breastfeeding in Korean Medical Institution Workers

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Pediatrics, Chung-Ang University Hospital, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Jangs Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea
  • 5Department of Pediatrics, Soonchunhyang University Seoul Hospital, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Department of Pediatrics, Bucheon St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea
  • 8Department of Pediatrics, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 9Department of Pediatrics, Asan Medical Center, Ulsan University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 10Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 11Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University-Seoul Metropolitan Government Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 12Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 13Chung-Ang University Industry Academic Cooperation Foundation, Seoul, Korea


Human breast milk is essential and provides irreplaceable nutrients for early humans. However, breastfeeding is not easy for various reasons in medical institution environments. Therefore, in order to improve the breastfeeding environment, we investigated the difficult reality of breastfeeding through questionnaire responses from medical institution workers.
A survey was conducted among 179 medical institution workers with experience in childbirth within the last five years. The survey results of 175 people were analyzed, with incoherent answers excluded.
Of the 175 people surveyed, a total of 108 people (61.7%) worked during the day, and 33 people (18.9%) worked in three shifts. Among 133 mothers who stayed with their babies in the same nursing room, 111 (93.3%) kept breastfeeding for more than a month, but among those who stayed apart, only 10 (71.4%) continued breastfeeding for more than a month (P = 0.024). Ninety-five (88.0%) of daytime workers, 32 (94.1%) two-shift workers, and 33 (100%) three-shift workers continued breastfeeding for more than a month (P = 0.026). Workers in general hospitals tended to breastfeed for significantly longer than those that worked in tertiary hospitals (P = 0.003). A difference was also noted between occupation categories (P = 0.019), but a more significant difference was found in the comparison between nurses and doctors (P = 0.012). Longer breastfeeding periods were noted when mothers worked three shifts (P = 0.037). Depending on the period planned for breastfeeding prior to childbirth, the actual breastfeeding maintenance period after birth showed a significant difference (P = 0.002). Of 112 mothers who responded to the question regarding difficulties in breastfeeding after returning to work, 87 (77.7%) mentioned a lack of time caused by being busy at work, 82 (73.2%) mentioned the need for places and appropriate circumstances.
In medical institutions, it is recommended that environmental improvements in medical institutions, the implementation of supporting policies, and the provision of specialized education on breastfeeding are necessary to promote breastfeeding.


Milk; Human; Breast Feeding; Nutrients; Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Fig. 1 Algorithm according to occupation of responders.


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