Although the importance of anticipatory guidance in the care of children is well recognized, pediatricians devote only about 10% of the average well child visit to parent education. The reluctance to engage more extensively in preventive interventions may relate to the paucity of evidence that such efforts are effective. This study was designed to test whether a modest anticipatory intervention, easily adaptable to other settings, could favorably influence maternal behavior. Mothers of newborn infants in a municipal hospital were assigned in alternate 2-week periods to an intervention program (n = 49) or a control group (n = 54). The intervention in the nursery consisted of a short group meeting, reinforced by a handout, advocating delayed introduction of solid foods and juices, and the use only of safe pacifiers. The mothers were interviewed at all visits to the general pediatric clinic using a standard format questionnaire. The two groups of mothers were demographically comparable but differed significantly in both the foods they introduced and the pacifiers they used for their babies. As an unexpected benefit, intervention mothers tended to view their babies as healthier than did control mothers. The implications of these findings are discussed.
- Received February 4, 1985.
- Accepted March 21, 1985.
- Copyright © 1985 by the American Academy of Pediatrics