New Mother Advice: Survey Finds Not All New Mothers Are Receiving Infant Care Advice From Doctors

New mother advice isn’t available to all new moms, according to a recent survey funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The survey, which was published in the journal Pediatrics on July 27, questioned more than 1,000 new mothers, and found that many of them were not receiving any infant care advice, such as information about breastfeeding, SIDS, etc., from their doctors.

According to the results of the survey, approximately 20 percent of the women received no information about how to successfully breastfeed their child, and were not explained the risks associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), such as letting a child sleep on their backs. More than 50 percent were not told where it is considered safe for an infant to sleep — in the same room with parents, but not in the parent’s bed.

The study also showed that black and Hispanic women were more likely to receive advice than white women, and first-time mothers were more likely to be educated on infant care than mothers of one or more children, according to the Washington Post.

“As a physician, these findings made me stop and really think about how we communicate important information to new patients,” Dr. Staci R. Eisenberg, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and the first author of the study, explained, according to Fox News. “We may need to be clearer and more specific in telling new mothers about safe sleep recommendations.”

“From a public health perspective, there is a real opportunity to engage families and the media to promote infant health,” she added.

For their study, Eisenberg and several other researchers from Boston Medical Center, Boston University, and Yale University enlisted the help of 1,031 mothers who gave birth in 32 hospitals across the United States. Their babies were between the ages of two and six months old when they took the survey, and they were asked questions about the advice they received from the doctors, hospital nurses and the media.

The findings showed that when a doctor gave a mother advice, it tended to be consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). However, 10 percent to 15 percent of the advice was inconsistent on breastfeeding and pacifiers, while 25 percent was inconsistent on the infant’s sleep position.

“This survey shows that physicians have an opportunity to provide new mothers with much-needed advice on how to improve infant health and even save infant lives,” said Marian Willinger, of the Pregnancy and Perinatolgy Branch of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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