Friday, September 26, 2014

You are Your Child's Advocate

This post was originally published as a guest post on Hybrid Rasta Mama in February 2014.

You know your child better than anyone else. Don't let anyone ever convince you otherwise, including doctors!

The first time a doctor told me I needed to night-wean my child (Sasha, then 2½ years old), I held off a bit and talked to several natural parenting friends that I trust. Night weaning turned out to be exactly what we needed to do for her.

The second time our Pediatrician (same doctor) told me I needed to night-wean my child (Spencer, then 1½ years old), I just knew better. Spencer wasn't ready. He's still not ready. I know its not the solution to Spencer's sleep troubles. We're going on 6 months trying to find the right solution for Spencer and have seen several different specialists along the way. I've had to stick to my guns on this. No one else will choose when we wean (from any part of our nursing schedule).

Sasha and Pediatrician
We still like our Pediatrician.

I have talked to so many moms that have had to stick to their guns, stand up for their children (or didn't and regretted it). You are your child's advocate!

  • My teenage daughter has pretty strong Dental Anxiety. While in the chair (with me holding her hand the entire time - I will not leave her side), she told the Dental Assistant that something hurt. The DA argued that it didn't "hurt," it just felt unfamiliar and strange. We switched dentists. It is hard to find a dentist that listens to the patient, no matter their age. If a child says it hurts, then that is their reality; it hurts! Dismissing their feelings helps nothing.
  • Erica's daughter, Bella, had a rare disease. I don't think anyone researches with as much passion as a parent. She was definitely the expert. Erica chose not to give her daughter an enteral formula but to make a blenderized diet for her tube feedings. The medical personnel did not agree with her decision, but it was definitely the best thing for Bella.
  • At 3-4 months old, Kymberlee's son, Andrew, was nursing a lot, but was not gaining weight. He was barely within the normal range on the growth charts. The Pediatrician told her to quit nursing him and put him on formula. Somehow, her Momma Instinct told her that wasn't necessary. She knew breastmilk was the best thing for her son. She did buy formula to have "just in case." She could look at her son and see he had perfect color in his skin, his eyes were bright and he was happy. He was having plenty of wet and dirty diapers. There was nothing to cause any doubts about his health, other than the growth chart.

    Kymberlee began Baby Lead Weaning Andrew at 6 months, as planned. He still didn't gain weight well, but she could still see that he was happy and healthy. Long story short, she continued to nurse her son until he was 31 months old. He is at the top of the growth charts now and has always been healthy. Kymberlee is glad she trusted her instincts and kept nursing.
  • Kelly (of Becoming Crunchy) was advised that her child likely had autism and that she should spend $1,000 on screening, as if this expense was no big deal. Kellie really didn't feel that her daughter's issue was autism. Despite her husband's support of the screening, Kelly took her daughter for a second opinion. The second Pediatrician not only agreed with Kelly (that the problem was not likely autism), but also gave her a referral to a Developmental Pediatrician (which would not cost them $1,000)!

A medical degree does not make a person a god. Just because a person has a degree, doesn't mean that they should be trusted outright. Trust your gut, trust what you know of your child. No one knows your children as well as you know your children. Your children do not mean as much to anyone else as they do to you. It can be hard to stand up to someone, especially someone with more education than you. But you are your child's advocate!

When have you had to stand up to medical personnel?

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