I am on the hunt for a pediatrician. As per usual I am a bit ahead of myself, I don’t have a baby just yet! But when I give birth in February I want to have a good idea of who will be my child’s regular care giver. I am new to this city and as I’ve been navigating through the obstetrician and hospital world, I am learning how important it is to be vocal and informed when making these kinds of decisions.
Before becoming so involved in the breastfeeding world, I wasn’t aware of how a doctor could in fact be a “booby trap“. This is a person of authority that we turn to when we are concerned about the most precious thing in our lives. It is natural that we would listen to their advice without questioning. This survey of members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a decade old but is shocking nonetheless! “Although the AAP statement extensively documents the superiority of human milk, a startling 45% of surveyed pediatricians view breastfeeding and formula-feeding as equally acceptable methods of feeding. Another 17% aren’t sure.”
So how can we make sure our pediatrician or family doctor is going to be on the same breastfeeding page?
Here are a few things to do that can get us going in the right direction:
- Figure out what your breastfeeding beliefs and goals are – How important is it to you to breastfeed and for how long? Do you want to follow the WHO code to a tee or do you want to supplement and breastfeed from the get go?
- Get Referrals – Ask your ob/gyn, midwife, lactation consultant, La Leche League, friends and family. Ask people that will give you an honest opinion and who know what you are seeking in a doctor.
- Do Research and Prepare Questions to Ask the Doctor - Arm yourself with the WHO code and other information that supports your beliefs. Here are some questions to ask (for more questions see resources below):
1) Whose breastfeeding recommendations do you subscribe to? Do you know the recommendations of health organizations such as the World Health Organization, the Department of Health, and UNICEF?
2) In what sort of circumstances would you recommend supplemental feedings, interruptions of breastfeeding and weaning from the breast?
3) Have you or anyone in your office had specific training in counseling breastfeeding mothers?
- Have confidence and a positive attitude – Be respectful and responsive when conversing with your doctor. It should feel like you are a team in the management of your child’s care.
I look forward to creating a bond with my child’s doctor. I imagine that they will be a big part of our lives, especially in the first few years!
How impacting was your family doctor or pediatrician on your breastfeeding adventure?
Here are some great resources (and the sources of my research):