In what seems like the most obvious news of the day, a recent study reveals that new moms often receive advice on baby care from friends, family, the media and even their own pediatricians that is often in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Key topics such as breastfeeding, vaccinations, infant sleep and pacifier use are some of the topics where new moms receive the most "bad advice."
The study, published in Pediatrics on July 27, surveyed over 1,000 U.S. moms who had babies between two and six months old and asked them about the kind of advice they received on the previously mentioned topics. What the study found was that most moms did get baby care information from their doctors, but up to 15 percent of the advice they received on breastfeeding and pacifier use from doctors didn't match the AAP recommendations on the same issues. Around 26 percent of the advice moms received included misinformation about sleeping positions while 29 percent of the surveyed moms received contradictory recommendations about where baby should sleep.
Moreover, almost 50 percent said they received absolutely no advice on where babies should sleep from their pediatricians and over 75 percent heard nothing about pacifier use. According to the study's lead author, Dr. Staci Eisenberg, "The amount of 'no advice' we found was a little surprising. We know that advice matters. We know from previous studies that mothers getting advice from more sources, and more correct advice, changes behavior."
Obviously, there was an even larger disparity in the information moms received from non-medical professionals such as friends, family and—let's be real—total strangers online. So what's a new mom to do if she can't even trust her doctor's information, or lack thereof?
Eisenberg reassures us by proclaiming that the information doctors provided to moms was "generally accurate" but concedes that there is definitely "room for improvement." In the end, it's all about being an advocate for yourself and your child. The study concludes by encouraging parents to "ask questions if they don't feel like their provider has been entirely clear, or if they have any questions about the recommendations." Isn't that what we should all be doing, anyway?
Learn more about AAP recommendations over at their site.