Advice has been associated with increased adherence to recommended infant care practices, and may represent a modifiable factor to promote infant health.
A stratified, 2-stage, clustered design, with oversampling of black and Hispanic mothers, was used to survey a nationally representative sample of 1031 mothers of infants aged 2 to 6 months. Survey questions assessed advice received from doctors, birth hospital nurses, family, and media regarding immunization, breastfeeding, sleep position, sleep location, and pacifier use. Weighted frequencies of no advice and advice consistent with recommendations were calculated to obtain prevalence estimates. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess factors associated with receipt of recommendation consistent advice.
Although doctors were the most prevalent source of reported advice, ∼20% of mothers reported no doctor advice for breastfeeding or sleep position, and more than 50% reported no advice regarding sleep location or pacifier use. Reported advice from nurses was generally similar to doctors. The prevalence of any advice from family or media was 20% to 56% for nearly all care practices, and advice given was often inconsistent with recommendations. The only factors that were consistently associated with receipt of recommendation consistent advice were race/ethnicity and parity; black and Hispanic mothers and first-time mothers were more likely to report recommendation consistent advice.
Mothers commonly report receiving either no advice or recommendation inconsistent advice from each of the 4 sources we studied. By identifying care practices with low prevalence of recommendation consistent advice from potentially important advisors, our findings highlight opportunities for future intervention.