Over two thirds of the mums who took part in the study said they had sought parenting advice from relatives but the responses they received were often contradictory. Of those surveyed 44 per cent were told never to wake a sleeping baby, whilst 51 per cent were told to wake a baby regularly in order to establish routine.
The mums taking part were also asked who they felt had given them either incorrect, confusing or contradictory parenting advice, with mother-in-laws coming out top (39 per cent) followed by mums (35 per cent) and then strangers (30 per cent).
Surprisingly it was also found that over half of mothers had been told they would instinctively be able to interpret their baby’s cries and 74 per cent had been told they would ‘just know what to do’ after they had given birth.
The study uncovered various old wives tales and bizarre advice such as too many ice pops will give children worms, tickling a baby’s feet will cause stammering and children under the age of one don’t need suncream because they won’t burn.
Co-founder of Netmums Siobhan Freegard, 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.
Parental support charity the National Childbirth Trust encourages parents to check any information they receive is up to date and to contact a health professional or their GP if they are worried about a child’s health.
Dr Katherine Rake from the Family and Parenting Institute commented that more work needs to be done to ensure that mothers do not feel guilty and bombarded.