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New Mother Advice Study: Many Docs Don't Give Info on Breastfeeding, Sleep

Image: New Mother Advice Study: Many Docs Don't Give Info on Breastfeeding, Sleep
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By    |   Tuesday, 28 Jul 2015 02:43 PM

New mothers are not receiving the advice they need when it comes to infant care and breastfeeding, according to a new National Institutes of Health-funded study.

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that 20 percent of new mothers received no instruction from doctors on breastfeeding or infant sleep positions. More than 50 percent of respondents said their healthcare providers also never gave them advice on pacifier use and sleep location.

Additionally, the 10 to 15 percent of women whose doctors did give them advice on breastfeeding and pacifier use — as well as the 25 percent who got advice on sleep position — did not receive good advice. Doctors solicited advice that was not in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, which are supposed to mitigate the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), NIH reported.

“As a physician, these findings made me stop and really think about how we communicate important information to new parents,” Staci R. Eisenberg, M.D., one of the study’s authors and a Boston Medical Center pediatrician, told NIH. “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.”

Marian Willinger, a part of the Pregnancy and Perinatology branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development, finds the study’s results alarming because “earlier studies have shown that new mothers listen to their physicians,” she tolf NIH. “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.”

Shanon Nebo, of Annapolis, Maryland, admitted that her doctor never advised her when she tried breastfeeding her then-newborn son 11 years ago, she told USA Today. The 32-year-old recalled that she had an unsuccessful first breastfeeding attempt, something that could have been avoided with advice from medical professionals.

More recently, Nebo’s 1-month-old son’s pediatrician advised her to stop sharing a bed with him. Although she disagreed with the doctor’s advice, she was grateful for having received it.

"We don't need pediatricians telling us what to do, but moms do need advice from them. That's what we pay them for,” she said.

The study also found that among first-time mothers, African-American and Hispanic women were given advice more often than white mothers.

"We would hope that doctors are not making assumptions about which moms need information and which don't," Eisenberg said, USA Today reported.

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New mothers are not receiving the advice they need when it comes to infant care and breastfeeding, according to a new National Institutes of Health-funded study.
new, mother, advice, study, pediatrics
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2015-43-28
Tuesday, 28 Jul 2015 02:43 PM
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