Misinformation and New Mothers

Dr. Lori Gore-GreenUS News and World Report recently reported on a new study  that finds that new mothers often fall victim to poor advice regarding how to care for their newborn child. This study, which was recently released in Pediatrics, surveyed over a thousand mothers to infants aged 2 to 6 months old. The researchers questioned the mothers about advice shared with them on a variety of topics related to all facets of childcare. Although many of these women received advice from doctors, a significant amount of this advice contradicted the guidelines set forth by the AAP. The study also revealed that family members were often full of contradictory advice – oftentimes due to the reliance that family members had on anecdotal experience as opposed to medical training.

News from the Media

The study found that although less than half of the women identified the media as a source for advice for most topics, breast-feeding was the outlier. Of the women surveyed, seventy percent admitted that they got advice from the media on this topic. Researchers found that much of this advice did not match official recommendations.


The study’s lead author, Dr. Staci Eisenberg stated that,

“In order for parents to make informed decisions about their baby’s health and safety, it is important that they get information, and that the information is accurate.”

Dr. Eisenberg, a pediatrician from Boston Medical Center went on saying,

“We know from prior studies that advice matters,” and that the likelihood of parents following the suggestions of professional increases only when they, “receive appropriate advice from multiple sources, such as family and physicians.”

How to Position Your Child While Sleeping : Pervasive Myths

Another important area of note is the advice that new mothers receive on how to position their little ones while sleeping. According to this study, new mothers seem to be receiving a wide range of theories on how to position their babies from a number of different sources. The study found that almost 29 percent of these mothers got incorrect information regarding where babies ought to sleep, and 26 percent of the advice on sleeping positions was also false.

 Do Your Homework

While some of the information gleaned from the study may not seem all that surprising, some points may. With all of the (mis)information out there, it’s imperative that parents find a physician with whom they are comfortable and that they never fear seeking a second opinion by another authoritative source. Most importantly, this study reveals the necessity of truly considering the validity of your source in these matters. To learn more about this study, please see the original report that appeared in U.S. News and World Report .