By Caitlin St John
July 27, 2015

When it comes to caring for a baby, parents receive a great deal of advice from plenty of sources—but how much of the advice is accurate? A new study published online in the journal of Pediatrics further proves you can't believe everything you hear.

More than 1,000 U.S. mothers of infants aged 2- to 6-months were surveyed about advice they had been given on various parenting topics—vaccines, breastfeeding, pacifiers, and infant sleep (position and location)—as well as who gave it to them (medical professional, the media, and family members).

The study concluded that although moms get the majority of their advice from doctors, this guidance is often contradictory to what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends. Specifically, 10 to 15 percent of advice from doctors about breastfeeding and pacifier-use did not align with the AAP. Advice about sleeping positions (26 percent) and safe sleep locations (29 percent) also differed. Perhaps most disturbingly, 50 percent of new mothers reported receiving no counseling at all from doctors about sleep location or pacifier-use and about 20 percent did not get advice on breastfeeding or sleep position.

Related: Most Doctors Are Delaying Vaccines Because of Parents' Request, Study Says

"I'm not so sure most parents realize how much recommendations differ from doctor to doctor and nurse to nurse, or that many of us give medical information that is just plain wrong," stated pediatrician Clay Jones, M.D., who was not involved in the study.

Guidance that was passed along by family members (sorry grandma!) or the media was also frequently inconsistent with AAP recommendations. The bottom line? Stick to reputable sources—lead author Staci Eisenberg, M.D. recommends the AAP and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—when you're looking for medical information online.

Related: Many Parents Are Still Confused About Antibiotics

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Image: Baby at pediatrician via Shutterstock



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