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Mothers Receive Conflicting Advice on Infant Care

Infant health care practices such as immunizations, breastfeeding and safe sleep can have a significant impact on health outcomes, yet adherence to these practices continue to remain below targeted goals. In the August 2015 Pediatrics study, “Maternal Report of Advice Received for Infant Care,” published online July 27) a nationally representative sample of 1,031 mothers of infants aged 2 to 6 months were surveyed on advice received from doctors, nurses, family and media about pacifier use, breastfeeding, immunizations and sleep position/location. Researchers found that doctors were reported as most often providing advice, but substantial percentages of mothers reported no advice from doctors. As much as 10 to 15 percent reported advice from doctors was not consistent with recommendations on breastfeeding and pacifier use, and more than 25 percent was not consistent with recommendations on sleep position or location. Family was reported as a source of advice approximately 30 to 60 percent of the time, and media was a source less than half of the time, with an exception of 70 percent of mothers receiving advice about breastfeeding. Also noteworthy is that more than 25 percent of mothers reporting media “advice” about vaccinations were not consistent with recommendations. First-time, black and Hispanic mothers were more likely than white mothers to report receiving recommendation consistent advice. Study authors conclude that the results of this study may be helpful for health care providers to recognize the content of advice being delivered in order to improve consistent messaging for infant care practices.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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