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Pediatrician FAIL

DSC_0001Note: I’m publishing two stories at once, so scroll down if you want to read them in order.

Lillian’s pediatrician is so fired. I’m making an appointment with a new doctor this week. Lillian had slipped slightly on the weight chart. I pointed out that not only is she very active and strong, she is also good and chunky – she’s just small. The pediatrician admitted she looked great, but kept referring back to the chart. Then she told us to start giving her rice cereal once a day – she’s barely four months old – and that would increase her caloric intake. Apparently I’m supposed to make my kid chunkier than she needs to be so that she fits a number.

I have a friend who takes her baby to another doctor in the same practice. Her kid was born four days before mine and weighs 4 lbs more than Lillian, yet her doctor also suggested rice cereal at four months. So if my baby is underweight and her baby is not, why are we getting the same advice? This sounds like a blanket policy they created that is enforced however the particular pediatrician feels like, and has nothing to do with the needs of the individual child.

A sidebar to this conversation – I suspect that Lillian may be small boned, which means she could weigh less and have more body fat. Which means she’ll never look quite right on a chart. I had the same problem the other direction. When I was 17 I decided to basically stop eating partly so I could meet the maximum weight for my height on Weight Watchers – 113 lbs. I didn’t start eating like a normal person again until I hit 117 lbs, started getting dizzy a lot, and saw a doctor told me I had no body fat and needed better nutrition. Did I mention I hate charts (and most doctors)?

Anyway, I told her everything I’d read said that the AAP recommends breastmilk exclusively till 6 months, and that cereal doesn’t increase calories, it decreases them (it’s far more filling and less nutritious). She told me my information was outdated and insisted we start solids or we’d have to come back in for a weighing. For the record, I was right about the AAP. I’m not sure why pediatricians are pushing solids at four months when the research shows otherwise.

I want a pediatrician who 1) Can give me valid scientific data on why I’m supposed to do something that is widely recommended against and 2) Who values my opinion and common sense over a freaking chart that by the way, was created in the 50s based on formula-fed babies. I called my lactation consultant after Lillian’s appointment to check out some of this stuff and she said as long as Lillian had gained a pound a month (she’s gained more) she didn’t have an issue. Have I mentioned I love my lactation consultant?

I was proud of myself for arguing with the doctor instead of just taking everything she said as writ. She’s dogmatic and rigid, and I’ve decided that does not work for my family. I’ve also decided that we blew the digestive issues WAY out of proportion, partly due to her approach. I’m going to start adding soy and dairy back into my diet in moderation. That’s a story for another time. All about poop!

2 comments to Pediatrician FAIL

  • Just for the record, I haven’t yet given Isabel any rice cereal. Partly because I haven’t gotten around to it, and partly because I was thinking about what you mentioned re: the AAP saying babies don’t need to eat solids until 6 months. I’m thinking about changing pedis and joining you at the new one… 😉

  • I’m probably going to try Dr. Feyda at SW Pedi, and if it seems like it’s a practice-wide problem I’m going to try another group. Lillian keeps watching us eat, so I don’t know how long we can hold off, we’ll see.

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