02/Sep/2014 - Last News Update: 12:03

Netmums survey: Many Mums given risky parenting advice

Category: Health

Published: 29th Mar 2011 00:13:23

Many new mothers are bombarded with contradictory and even dangerous parenting advice by family members, a Netmums survey suggests.

Two in five of 4,000 mothers surveyed said a relative had given advice they felt could harm their baby's health.

Examples included exposing a baby to hot tarmac fumes to "strengthen its lungs", and "under ones don't need sun cream because they can't get sunburnt".

Mothers-in-law topped the list of people who had given poor advice.

More than three-quarters of mothers who responded to the survey - posted on the Netmums website - said they sought parenting advice from relatives.

But the responses were often contradictory. For example, 51% of the mothers had been told to wake a baby regularly to enforce routine, while 44% had also been told never to wake a sleeping baby.

When respondents were asked who had given them confusing, contradictory or incorrect parenting advice, mothers-in-law topped the list (39%), followed by mums (35%) and then strangers (30%).

One in five said they felt worried or guilty when going against a rule or piece of advice they had been given.

Some pieces of advice which Netmums said could be damaging to a child's health were reported by several of the mothers surveyed.

These included 30% of mothers who said they had been told to put whiskey on a dummy to relieve teething pain, 22% who were told their children should be eating solids from three months old, as well as 25 people who had been told that breathing in the fumes from hot tarmac is good for a baby's lungs.

Netmums also said it was potentially harmful that 54% of mothers were told they should instinctively be able to interpret their baby's cries, and that 74% had been told that they would "just know what to do" once they had given birth.

A significant proportion of those surveyed had also been given other inaccurate information - such as that a baby will get a cold if taken outside (24%), or should not be taken outside if it is foggy (6%).

Netmums described other pieces of advice or misinformation reported in the survey as "outlandish":

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the Netmums website, said: "Mums really are being bombarded with advice from every direction.

"Despite this, however, the findings also showed that many mothers feel that parenting shouldn't be about following strict rules - they do what feels right for each individual child and ignore well-meant advice," she said.

Grandparents Plus, a charity which supports the role of grandparents in family life, said grandparents were often a "great asset" in supporting young families.

"Parenting wisdom clearly does change over the years and even now it depends on which expert you speak to - so it's not surprising some grandparents will come up with things that seem inappropriate and out-of-date," said policy and research manager Sarah Wellard.

"Mums are targeted with information all the time, but grandparents are often overlooked so they do not always get these up-to-date messages," she said.

The National Childbirth Trust, a charity supporting parents, said it recognised the valuable source of support that other family members can offer, but encouraged parents to check that information is up-to-date, and to contact a health visitor or GP if they are worried about a child's health.

Dr Katherine Rake of the Family and Parenting Institute said: "It is very saddening to see that so many UK mothers feel put down and experience feelings of guilt. We need to work with parents to ensure they receive the advice they need. But we must also ensure they are not bombarded."

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. Netmums survey: Many Mums given risky parenting advice [Online] (Updated 29th Mar 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/141744/Netmums-survey-Many-Mums-given-risky-parenting-advice [Accessed 2nd Sep 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Woman injured in crash on A96 at Nairn

    A woman was being treated in hospital after being injured in a crash in Nairn in the Highlands.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Uber banned in Germany by Frankfurt court

    Car pick-up service Uber has been banned across Germany.
  • Richhill doctor Tony Chee in court on sex assault charges

    A County Armagh doctor has appeared in court charged with assaulting six of his female patients.
  • Scottish independence: Referendum jobs campaign continues

    Both sides in the Scottish referendum debate are focusing on jobs, just a few weeks ahead of the vote on the nation's future.
  • Betsi Cadwaladr C. diff rate improves but is still high

    The superbug Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection rate at Wales' biggest health board is still above average but has improved, new figures show.