Physician gaps in maternal infant care counseling

1. In this cross-sectional survey, mothers reported that doctors were the most prevalent source of advice for infant care practices. However, more than 50% of mothers did not receive advice regarding sleep location or pacifier use.

2. Approximately 20 to 56% of women received advice from family and media about infant care practices, and a significant portion of this advice was not consistent with current recommendations.

Study Rundown: Immunizations, breastfeeding, and safe sleep behaviors are infant care practices that can have a significant benefit on health outcomes and parents often receive information regarding recommended care practices from a variety of sources. However, adherence to these practices still remains below target goals. This study sought to compare doctors, nurses, family, and media as sources for infant care practice advice and determine whether advice was consistent with current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Doctors were the most prevalent source of advice for mothers; however, more than 50% of mothers reported not receiving advice regarding sleep location or pacifier use and approximately 20% reported not receiving advice regarding breastfeeding or sleep position. Of the 26% who did receive physician advice regarding pacifier use, only 43% received recommendation consistent advice from their physicians. Similarly, of the 49% who received sleep location advice from physicians, only 41% received recommendation consistent advice. Approximately 20% to 56% of mothers reported advice from family and media for infant care practices, and a significant proportion of this advice was not consistent with recommendations. This study is limited by self-reporting, and actual advice may differ from what mothers reported on surveys. However, it highlights the need for physicians to improve comprehensive counseling on specific infant care practices, such as sleep location and pacifier use.

Click to read the study, published today in Pediatrics

Relevant Reading: Maternal assessment of physician qualification to give advice on AAP-recommended infant sleep practices related to SIDS

In-Depth [survey]: A total of 1031 mothers of infants aged 2 to 6 months, from 32 hospitals participated in this cross-sectional survey. A majority of mothers were aged 20 or older, with 53% between 20-29, and 40% ≥ 30, and most (62%) were multiparous. Participating mothers were a majority white (40%), followed by Hispanic (29%) and black (24%). Physicians and nurses were the most prevalent sources of advice. Of all the mothers who received advice, < 50% reported receiving recommendation consistent advice for sleep location and pacifier use from physicians. Mothers who received physician advice reported having recommendation consistent advice regarding vaccination, breastfeeding, and sleep position, 97%, 80%, and 68% of the time from physicians. Mothers reported media as a source of advice ≤ 50%, with the exception of approximately 70% of mothers reporting advice regarding breastfeeding. Family was a source of advice 35% to 65% of the time. Hispanic, black, and first-time mothers were more likely to report recommendation consistent advice from all sources.

Image: PD

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