3 Things You Shouldn’t Let the Pediatrician Do

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Image via WikiCommons

I am normally someone who follows the advice of people of authority without question (within reason!). I figure they're the expert, they obviously know more than I do, and that's usually true.

In a large majority of cases, that includes doctors — with a small caveat. They know more about the medicine, yes; however, I know more about my kid.

And the kid dictates the diagnosis.

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Image via Flickr/ MIKI Yoshihito

Don't let them make snap judgments.

Just because your 3-year-old hates having their ears touched and throws a tantrum at the pediatrician's office when the doctor tries to look at their eardrum, don't let the doctor try to throw a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance Disorder at you. That's a true story, and one I laugh about to this day.

Yes, my tiny blonde, blue-eyed little girl has ODD. The one who looks so remorseful if I even gently remind her to share with her brother, and whose lip quivers as she says, “I'm really sorry 'bout that, Mommy.”

Sure, sure. Thanks, doc.

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Image via Flickr/ donnierayjones

Don't let them scare you with milestone charts.

Most new moms live and die by those dang charts when, really, we should stop looking at them altogether. Yes, there comes a point when your child really is delayed, and believe me, you'll notice when they are.

But for most of the population, there is an incredibly wide range when it comes to hitting different points of development. Some kids focus more on gross motor skills (sitting up, crawling, and walking) while others are more interested in developing those sounds and babbling and talking. Trust your mommy gut and enjoy your baby, and don't freak out if they aren't checking every single box by the recommended time.

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Image via Rachel Engel

Don't let them shame you into doing something that doesn't feel right.

There's that mommy intuition again. Your child has a summer birthday, and the doctor automatically tells you to hold them back? I don't think so. That's a personal and family decision to be made. They tell you your child should be drinking out of a regular cup instead of a sippy by now? Well, sure, they can, but the floor of your car and your living room carpet would look very different by now if you didn't keep a lid on that cup. They're a doctor, not the lifestyle police.

Don't forget that you see your child for 15 hours a day, and the doctor may see them for 15 minutes sporadically every few months or longer. You have seen them learn and grow, and you know what triggers a bad mood and how to get the day started right. You know that if they lie down for an early nap they are happier the rest of the day, and sweet potatoes make them gassy. You know them inside out. The only thing you don't know is if they have strep throat or a cold.

{ MORE: One Mom's Story: Grandparent Depression and Its Impact on the Family }

Pediatricians are special people. Most of them become doctors because they love medicine and they love kids, and they want to help, and 90% of the time, they do help. It's during that last 10% when you really have to rely on your intuition, step in, and say, “I really think we need to take a step back and look at this again, because I don't agree.” Good doctors will take the time to listen.

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3 Things You Shouldn’t Let the Pediatrician Do

Rachel is a stay-at-home-mom to her 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and her 18-month-old son, Jackson. Her writing can be found all over the web, mostly detailing her own parenting struggles and triumphs, as well as her life as the military spouse of an active-duty airman. She also writes about her life as as a special needs parent on her blog, Tales From the Plastic Crib, and spends an unnecessary amount of time on Twitter. ... More

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11 comments

  1. Profile photo of CM CM says:

    Do not let you pediatrician pressure you into getting all the vaccinations according to the schedule. You can spread them out, delay some, or skip them all together. Personally I wouldn’t pump a 2 or 4 month old with too many shots only to do it again 2 months later. You never know how they may react. Also don’t let your pediatrician pressure you into giving your child a fluoride treatment. It is absolutely not necessary, especially if a child is under 2.

  2. Profile photo of Michele Michele says:

    Even wonderful pediatricians can make mistakes. At my 2 and a half year old’s last appointment, she told me that we need to work on her confidence. While I can understand why she may say this (she didn’t talk very much and her older sister answered many of the questions the doctor had for her before she had a real chance), I know my daughter and she is an introvert, like her dad. She takes a while to warm up when in different settings and with people that she does not see often, but once she is sure about her settings (or people) she is very comfortable expressing herself and her (strong) opinions.

  3. Profile photo of Nancy Nancy says:

    I absolutely love this article. Is true that nobody knows best your own child! I have a good pediatrician thanks to my husband research and my baby girl is very comfortable around him but i would always keep in mind that they don’t always know everything.

  4. Profile photo of Nicole Nicole says:

    I have to agree with the other comments. This sounds like a bad pediatrician. Or just a bad doctor in general. Ours even says the milestone charts are just a ‘guestimate’ (his words). Ours is always positive, reassuring, and encourages us to ask any questions or talk about what is going on at home. Even the stuff that may feel silly or embarrassing. Our pediatrician got to hear my first exasperated complaints about trying to cope with toddler tantrums. LOL

  5. Profile photo of Carolyn Carolyn says:

    New moms do not let this article scare you into thinking that all or most pediatricians are like this. Find a pediatrician that you feel comfortable with. Remember, the charts the doctors use to measure your child’s development are designed to help determine if there are any serious issues. Every child is different and each one reaches important milestones at different times. I found it very helpful to read the American Academy of Pediatrics book (birth to age 5 edition). Much of the information in the book, including milestone charts, is what my sons pediatrician covered during visits. I always read up on the section that pertained to my sons age and felt prepared to discuss any concerns with the doctor. The milestone charts helped my husband and I to know what is generally expected at each stage. We used the charts as guidelines, but tried not to worry too much if our son wasn’t meeting all of the milestones for his stage. A good doctor will tell you not to worry if your child is not meeting all the points on the chart. A good doctor will encourage you to work with your child and remind you that each child is different. Understanding how to gauge a child’s development can be overwhelming for new parents. Find a pediatrician that will help you be successful in working with your child.

    • Profile photo of Rachel EngelAuthor Rachel Engel says:

      True, not every pediatrician is like this, but some are, and some parents might not feel like they have the voice to say something. It can be overwhelming to be a new or young parent, and doctors traditionally command a lot of authority and respect. I just wanted to remind moms that we are the authority when it comes to our child. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  6. Profile photo of Paulina Paulina says:

    Wow that’s a pretty negative sounding pediatrician. Why would anyone continue to see someone who makes snap judgments and tries to shame you into thinking there’s something wrong with your child? I think the point of this article should be when to know to move onto a new doctor. Anyone who continues taking their child to a doctor who would do these things isn’t thinking straight.

    • Profile photo of Rachel EngelAuthor Rachel Engel says:

      That WOULD be a negative pediatrician if they had all three qualities! I didn’t mean to come off as if that was one doctor; those are complaints I’ve heard from mommy friends of mine. πŸ™‚

      The first anecdote is mine, though. And, I don’t have a choice in my children’s doctor, unfortunately. We’re military, so we get who we get, and often times it’s someone who I wonder why they decided to go into pediatric medicine, because their lack of compassion doesn’t really lend itself to taking care of kids.

      If we could switch to a new doctor, WE WOULD, in a heartbeat!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

      I agree. This article should have been titled something more along the lines of “3 things that mean you should get a new pediatrician”. I love my daughter’s pediatrician because she doesn’t do any of that. As a matter of fact, when we went for her 15 month checkup, my daughter wasn’t walking on her own at all. Her pediatrician wasn’t concerned at all. She said the mechanics aren’t there and that if she wasn’t walking on her own by her 18 month check up, we might look into it further.

  7. Profile photo of Jenna Jenna says:

    I think that if your pediatrician does any of these things, you should find a new pediatrician. None of ours ever did anything like this and I always felt they were some of my greatest allies in dealing with my children’s issues.

    • Profile photo of Rachel EngelAuthor Rachel Engel says:

      If we could switch to a new one, we would! In the military, your kids get assigned a doctor, and you’re stuck. It’s a major bummer, and I avoid taking my children to the doctor at all costs.

      I’m glad your pediatrician is a helpful person in your life, that’s wonderful! Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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