Monday, August 3, 2015

Sources for Infant Care Advice: What Are They and How Well Is That Advice Received?

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief       

          A key component of every health maintenance visit is the advice we provide to parents who bring their infants and children to us.  In fact as pediatricians, we pride ourselves on making sure that advice is evidence-based and individualized for each patient and family under our care.  That being said, parents seek advice not just from pediatricians, but from birth hospital nurses, family and the media—at least according to a new study by Eisenberg et al. (2015-0551) being released this week. 
     The authors surveyed more than 1000 mothers from across the country regarding five key advice topics—immunization, breastfeeding, sleep position, sleep location and pacifier use. While the good news is that pediatricians are the most prevalent source of advice, mothers self-reported that they got no advice on sleep location or pacifier use, and about 1/5 of the sample stated they got no advice on breastfeeding or sleep position.  To find out how the other sources of advice performed, read the study yourself—although be ready to learn just how popular or unpopular family members and the media can be in also offering advice to your patients.   
     So do you agree with the findings in this study and are you surprised how often key areas of advice are not being received by families from pediatricians?  Does this mean the advice is not given, or it just doesn’t register given everything else a family wanted to learn during a visit?  To provide some further input on this study and what it means to all who practice, Drs. Scott Krugman and Carolyn Fowler provide their interesting opinion in an accompanying commentary (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1826).   
      Take my advice—and read this study and commentary and share the findings with families of infants as you provide your anticipatory guidance that will help insure they stay healthy in that important first year of life.

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