When it comes to parenting, everyone is an expert. Family, friends, random strangers, New England diner proprietors—everybody has “helpful” ideas about how you should be raising your kid. (Confidential to the woman in the mall parking lot that one time: yes, I know socks would keep my infant son’s feet warm. That’s why I tried putting them back on roughly 15 times after he pulled them off before I finally gave up. But thanks for teaching me what “cold” is.)
For parents of newborn infants, much of the advice they receive about health and safety for their babies should be coming from medical providers. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics (PDF), many of them aren’t getting it.
Researchers from Boston University surveyed a little over 1,000 new mothers in the months following the birth of their babies, and asked where they’d been getting advice about such things as where and how to put the babies to sleep, breastfeeding, immunizations, and pacifier use. Sources of advice included medical providers, nursery nurses, family members, and the media. They then compared the advice these mothers reported receiving to the advice recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).