I Want to Trust My Pediatrician

March 29th, 2011

We had a horrendous experience at Buggie’s six month well baby checkup last night.  I went into the appointment feeling great about how breastfeeding was going and eager to launch into our baby-led solids adventure.  I left confused, worried, and self-doubting.

The cliff-note’s version of events is that Buggie measured small on the charts.  Too small, in my ped’s mind.  Plus, his growth curve wasn’t accelerating — he was actually dropping in the percentages.  In her brusque assessment of how to respond to this problem, the doctor managed to: imply that I wasn’t feeding him right, completely trash my desire to do BLS, and forcefully command that I start porking him up with big bowls of baby cereal in lieu of nursing sessions.

The problem was, much of what she had to say about how to manage nutrition for an exclusively breast fed infant contradicted everything I’d ever read or heard on the topic.

And therein lay my problem.  I want to trust my pediatrician.  I am not in the habit of going into doctor’s appointments armed for battle, expecting to be misinformed, lied to, or otherwise under-served (though I know many people who have exactly that attitude toward the profession).  I didn’t go to medical school for a reason and, at the end of the day, I need to be able to rely on those who did spend many years of their lives undergoing medical training.

But this lady was just wrong.  Conversations I had today with a couple lactation consultants confirmed my suspicions: she was way off base for how to deal with a breastfed baby.  She was careless, too.  Her (incorrect) response to Buggie was itself based on inaccurate data — they measured him as two full inches shorter than he actually is, which totally threw off his placement on the growth charts.

The whole experience has left me disgruntled and unsettled.  This is not how I want my kids’ visits to the doctor to go!

3 responses to “I Want to Trust My Pediatrician”

  1. Isa says:

    I still can't believe this. It just seems so ridiculous–I mean, if kids were expected to eat grains from 6 months, we'd have different teeth, right? Plus, there are PLENTY of babies in the history of the world who have been exclusively breastfed for WAY, WAY longer than Buggie and they all turn out fine. So glad your second dr caught the mistake and that now you have someone more trustworthy on your side!

  2. Pomegranate says:

    My two cents would be that it sounds like it's time to go shopping for a new pediatrician. I agree with you, trust is imperative. Do the lactation consultants have any recommendations?

  3. Kate says:

    @Isa — The whole thing was pretty insane. And, sadly, I find it hard to tell in advance how the practice will be. We already switched once because I didn't like the "style" of the first doc. Sigh.

    @Pomegranate — Definitely! I got a great recommendation from an attachment parenting group here in the city. The doc I saw for his first appointment was part of a bigger practice. For now, I plan to just avoid that particular doc because there are things I do like about the practice, but I'm ready to flee if we have any more problems!!

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