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Health Agencies Update
September 22/29, 2015

Study Reveals Gaps in Advice to New Mothers on Infant Care

JAMA. 2015;314(12):1216. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.11626

About 20% of new mothers do not receive information about breastfeeding or infant sleep position from their physicians, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health (Eisenberg SR et al. Pediatrics. 2015;136[2]:e315-e322). In addition, 50% of new mothers reported receiving no advice from their physicians regarding their babies’ sleep location or pacifier use.

The study surveyed more than 1031 new mothers who had babies between 2 and 6 months old, asking them questions about advice they received from physicians, nurses, family members, and the news media on infant care. The results of the survey indicated that 10% to 15% of physician advice regarding breastfeeding and about 25% of physician advice on infant sleep positions was not consistent with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations. For instances in which inconsistent advice was given, mothers reported that physicians recommended behavior consistent with AAP recommendations along with at least 1 behavior that was inconsistent. For example, among mothers who reported receiving physician advice on infant sleep positions not consistent with recommendations, 85% reported that their physician gave them advice to place infants on their back, as well as at least 1 other position, such as on the infant’s side, which is inconsistent with recommendations.