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New Moms Say Doctors Aren't Sharing Proper Baby Advice

The Short of It

According to a new study, about 20 percent of new mothers say their doctors didn't tell them about breastfeeding or how to properly lay a baby down to sleep. But when they said doctors did talk to them about these issues, 10 to 25 percent of the time the information they gave was wrong or not consistent with recommendations set by health organizations.

The Lowdown

Researchers at Boston Medical Center, Boston University, and Yale University wondered why some moms weren't following newborn care recommendations by health advocacy organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), so they decided to conduct a study to find out. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study surveyed 1,031 new mothers who had given birth in 32 hospitals across the country, and it asked them to report what advice their doctors and other health care professionals gave them two months and six months after giving birth.

While 20 percent of new mothers said doctors didn't tell them that babies should be laid down to sleep on their backs to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), at least 50 percent of the moms said they weren't told that infants can sleep in the same room as parents, but not the same bed.

Twenty percent also reported that their doctors didn't talk to them about breastfeeding; 11 percent weren't told when to start immunizations; and 50 percent were given no information on pacifier use.

The Upshot

"The most surprising thing was to see how many women weren't hearing this established advice about baby care and safety," Staci Eisenberg, MD, pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and co-author of the study, told Yahoo Parenting.

She says whether the doctors assumed the new moms already knew this information or didn't communicate it clearly enough for the new moms to understand, it's important for both doctors and new parents to make sure crucial newborn care information is followed.

"Parents need to know that they are proactive partners in their child's health, and it's important to ask questions or ask for more explanation if what your doctor says is inconsistent with what you've heard," Eisenberg said.

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