One thing I really procrastinated about at the end of my pregnancy was finding a pediatrician for Luna. It was on my “to do” list forever and I kept pushing it back. My nurse at the clinic told me not to worry and that they would assign us one at the hospital and I could change at a later date if I wanted. But then the head pediatrician at the hospital ended up telling us we had to find one closer to us as they could only assign in the Fort Greene area (where the hospital was located) and not in the Flushing area. I had noticed a pediatrician’s office on the route to the subway, and we ended up making an appointment with her for Luna’s week 1 visit. I could barely walk for the first 2 weeks post partum, and as I was sleeping about an hour a night and Cesar was working 80 hours a week neither of us really had the energy to research any further.
I do like Luna’s doctor. She’s very competent, she is extremely likeable and friendly, and Luna obviously likes her. She also speaks fluent Spanish which was important for us, and where we live Spanish is not the second language. Her office is literally less than 10 minutes away by foot. The first time we saw her was exactly a week after Luna was born and after I told her that I was exclusively breastfeeding she mentioned to me that she had exclusively formula fed her own kids. I didn’t really see it as a problem, and although it isn’t really, if I had known better I would have been more proactive about finding a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician.
It bugs me that I actually have to say that. Shouldn’t every pediatrician be open to both ways of feeding your child and support you whatever you choose to do? Isn’t the health of your child more important than the way the child is fed?
For me there was never any doubt I was going to breastfeed (you can read my whole post on that here), and both Cesar and I know how we want to raise our child. I don’t mean that in a “we know better than everyone else way”, but in a “we do our research and make up our own minds” way. This means that Luna will be breastfed past her first year, we won’t be introducing solids until 6 months and even then it will be just for fun as per AAP recommendations, we don’t agree with any form of physical punishment nor do we agree with any form of sleep training that requires letting a child cry for any amount of time. When Luna cries she gets picked up, as fast as one of us can. This is how we roll, no judgment on anyone else’s way of doing things. I’m also pretty stubborn, and when I know that something is right for my child and for us, then it’s going to take something huge to sway me away from it. If this means that I only get 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep for a while, then so be it. This is pretty much what I signed up for when I became a parent!
So I got a little annoyed yesterday when we went for Luna’s 4 month check up. Luna now weighs 16.5 pounds which means she has more than doubled her birth weight. She’s 25 inches long, which means she has grown 7 inches in 4 months. All this goes to show that she is getting more than enough nourishment via breast milk. She’s also hitting all of her milestones and obviously super alert and happy.
After a few minutes into the check up Luna’s pediatrician actually tried to tell me that I should give her formula to “give myself a break” (when did I ever mention I needed a break?!), and also in the same sentence not to give my breast milk away as I should keep it for Luna (confusing?!). I don’t need a break. Yes, we could have got Luna used to a bottle so that Cesar could take over some of the night feedings using my pumped milk, but at the same time he works over 60 hours a week and I don’t work, so I think it’s pretty normal I would be the one getting up to feed the baby. Also, I don’t see why formula NEEDS to be used?! Her theory was that breastfeeding was done in the past, but now we have developed excellent formula that mimics breast milk. Fine, if that’s what you want. I’m very happy doing what I think is best for my daughter, which also happens to be completely, 100% tailored for her needs and completely, 100% free.
Anyway, moving on, I knew her thoughts on breastfeeding, so I just brushed it off. My body is producing more than enough milk for Luna so I shall not be supplementing with anything else. A little bit later she asked us if we had started solids yet. I said no and that we were going to wait for a while longer. I kind of anticipated what was coming as she had already suggested I add rice cereal to a bottle of milk at her 2 month appointment to help her sleep better (this by the way is something I would never do and told her so at the time). In my opinion that is the equivalent of eating a load of wet sand so that your stomach stays fuller for longer (but only because you are filling yourself with something your body isn’t ready to digest).
She said that we should, and when I told her that Luna was in no way ready (she can’t sit up unassisted and her tongue still does the pushing out thing – although that has changed over the past few days I have noticed). So she said that we could actually make that change by trying every day. By this point I just didn’t want to say anything anymore so we just nodded while mentally telling each other that nothing had changed.
Yes I could have told her to stop and tell her that I didn’t think she was right. Or even that it wasn’t what we were planning on doing (which would have come across as me telling her I didn’t think she was right anyway). But who am I to tell a pediatrician who has years of training that me, first time mum Jade, doesn’t agree with her? It was just easier to listen and move on. I’m just lucky that I do my own extensive research and that I also don’t see the need to change something that is working fine for now. Why try to force food on my child when she doesn’t need it yet (and then have stinky poop diapers to look forward to and an onset of tummy complaints)? And rice cereal has no nutritional value anyway, so we will be bypassing that and starting things like mashed avocado, pureed carrots, peas, squash, banana etc. One item at a time per week. I want to make it into a fun pastime, not a chore. Food IS fun, not something I want to force onto my child!
Ugh. This IS my fault, I should have been more proactive about choosing a pediatrician before Luna was born. But at the same time, I didn’t realize that breastfeeding was such a big issue here! Was I supposed to call around to different doctors asking them if they would support my breastfeeding? Why would it have to be an issue? I can totally understand a pediatrician suggesting supplementing with formula if the child is not putting on weight, but saying that to a mother of a big, healthy baby? That’s just weird! I’m quite happy to be in charge of all feedings. Cesar has had a million other opportunities to bond with Luna, and she is such a Daddy’s girl too.
I also know that pediatricians are not nutritionists, and also that the recommendations do keep changing. What used to be considered a good age to introduce solids (4 months) is now considered too early. Some people say that it doesn’t make a difference. I don’t know if it does, but again, if my child doesn’t need it yet then who am I to force it down her throat? And if this means more chances of avoiding allergies and stomach problems in the future then fabulous!
I’m not going to change doctors right now as she IS a good doctor and she is very conveniently located a few blocks from us. She is the one who detected Luna’s heart murmur and who immediately referred us to a cardiologist. She is also available 24/7 and was able to explain to me what the weird breathing noise Luna sometimes makes was, and how she will continue to monitor it. And I actually like her as a person. I just don’t agree with everything she says or some of the advice she gives…
That said, if I had to do it all again I would have researched much better and used those last couple of weeks of waiting for Luna to make an appearance more productively than sitting on the couch watching every single episode of Call the Midwife. Then again, maybe this is just normal… You just pick and choose what the pediatrician says? Who knows… I guess we will continue to do as we have been doing since day 1. We seem to be doing an OK job so far!
(I am actually looking forward to making Luna food from scratch and introducing it to her little by little. Just not for a couple more months).