Background: Breastfeeding is known to have many benefits for both mothers and infants. With the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, health professionals have increased their attention on breastfeeding competency. Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate breastfeeding curricula that are currently being covered in didactic programs in dietetics (DPDs) and dietetic internships (DIs) across the United States. Methods: Two-part surveys were sent to all directors of DPDs and DIs (n=475) with instructions to forward the second portion of the survey to instructors of classes that taught about breastfeeding. Qualtrics software was used for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used to illustrate what was currently being done to educate students about breastfeeding. Two independent researchers used qualitative analysis to categorize course names that were provided as a free response. Results: Over 80% of DPDs taught the topics of other components of human milk and breastfeeding and health for infants most thoroughly. The topic of breastfeeding and health for infants was taught most completely in DIs (65%). Course instructors had an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant teach part of the breastfeeding material about a fourth of the time (DPDs=26.8%; DIs=21.9%). Interns participated in breastfeeding counseling the most during WIC rotations (DIs=90%). Course instructors usually taught about breastfeeding themselves (DPDs=91%; DIs=44%) and used lectures in their instruction (DPDs=93%; DIs=75%). Conclusion: This research provides background in the current status of breastfeeding curricula in DPDs and DIs across the United States. This knowledge could be used to determine standards for breastfeeding curricula, implement improvements to breastfeeding curricula, and set precedence for further evaluations in DPDs and DIs.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





breastfeeding, didactic programs in dietetics, dietetics students, dietetics education



Included in

Nutrition Commons