Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I Would Have Said to the Pediatrician

I had a frustrating pediatrician's appointment yesterday. I would have loved to get in her face with facts, but I just don't have the personality for it; it seems so rude and not befitting a professional situation. 
But if general decorum did not prevent me, here are some things I would have said to her:

Nighttime breastfeeding does not cause tooth decay. Bottles work different from breasts; breasts do not give milk unless the baby is actively sucking. If the baby is suckling, then he is also swallowing because the milk is already past the teeth. Please do not tell me to wean my child from night nursing because it will cause tooth decay - that's simply not true. 

Although weaning is a very personal process, it's weird to encourage weaning based on the following reasons: she'll soon "ask for it" or will "lift up your shirt." If you are concerned these things will bother me, the appropriate way to approach this is to ask me how nursing is going and if I have any concerns, then to highlight some coming changes that may affect our nursing relationship, including increasing verbal skills and gross motor movements. 
Also - Is it a bad thing for a child to ask for food, including breastmilk? Should I be afraid that there will be a learning curve in my child learning manners, like not throwing food or not lifting up my shirt? 

Breastmilk never ceases to be nutritious. Yes, it's content changes and it gradually constitutes less and less of a child's caloric intake - but it never ceases to be breastmilk and starts to be water, or something else devoid of nutrients. So when you tell me it does, I lose trust in you and your medical knowledge.

Nursing to sleep is normal for breastfed babies. Please tell me why it's necessary for my baby to fall asleep without nursing. Not your opinion, but why - medically. Aha, there's no reason? That's what I thought. You are entitled to have opinions about parenting, as am I - but you must provide reasons for my consideration and not just proclaim your opinions as settled facts. Then I get to consider your reasons and make a decision. You are not an absolute monarch.

Just because the majority of schools and daycares required a certain vaccine does not answer my concerns about a vaccine. When I ask for a medical reason for a vaccine, do not tell me some children have died and the county requires it for school. Some kids die from vaccine reactions (link to US Dept of Health and Human Services required reporting on vaccine injuries and vaccine injury compensation). The county also requires sex education! Those are not medical reasons to avoid vaccines or submit my child to county-mandated sex education. 

It was a pretty upsetting visit. Many of the statements made, especially in regards to breastfeeding, were made out of ignorance - and this is from a practice known to be nursing friendly! Ah well. Maybe I'll write a letter about this when I ask for Zuzu's medical records...since we certainly won't be going back.


  1. Oh yes, the teeth decay night time feeding questions... I hate them. I have a packet to fill out for Patrick's next appointment and I saw that it's on there and I'm already dreading that conversation. Although I just nod and then ignore their nursing advice.

    Although Patrick did just get cut off on nursing to sleep because of his unwillingness to go to sleep if I'm in the room... He's pretty sure I throw parties when he closes his eyes and he just has to keep them open to make sure...

    But Sadie nursed to sleep until she was like 18 months and she's our champion sleeper!

  2. Oh hugs...pediatrician visits can be so hard sometimes. You can try to educate them, or you can just smile and nod and then proceed to do whatever you do anyway. I'm a wimp, so I usually go for the smile and nod part.

    Anyway, breastfeeding definitely does not cause tooth decay, my kids all breastfed at night until they were at least 2 and none of them got any cavities until they were well past the age they weaned. I think the number three on bothers me the most. I mean, doctors recommend that children drink full-fat milk until age 2 or 3 so it really boggles my mind how doctors somehow think that cow's milk (designed for baby cows) is superior to human milk (which is designed or baby humans). And, my kids all nursed to sleep until age 3 or so...and they all learned how to fall asleep on their own without nursing. Even Elsa who nurses to sleep 99% of the time, will fall asleep in Daddy's arms if I'm not home at bedtime), so yes, I actually can go out occasionally and still nurse to sleep the rest of the time.

  3. Definitely write a letter so hopefully she will educate herself a bit! So sorry you experienced that!

  4. Not sure where my previous comment went to, but, good for you, you seem to have a great knowlege of breast feeding and otherwise informed parenthood. If I were in your shoes I would be looking for another doctor as well! You are smart to write a letter and explain why you won't be returning!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I agree, pediatrician appointments can get so frustrating sometimes! I always have the biggest problem trying to understand what they are saying. Sometimes, I feel like pediatricians are speaking a different language!


Comments make me feel like I'm not just talking to myself or the government (because I know the government secretly reads my blog). Help me feel less crazy - comment away!