Sunday, September 11, 2011


that is the sound of my bubble popping. it is the sound of the spell being broken. I grew up believing that the men (there were mostly men back then) with the white coats and stethoscopes had the last say on all things. they told you matter-of-factly what was wrong with you and gave you a medicine to fix it--very Norman Rockwell.

my ideas about the medical community are less than idealistic now. I'm so glad for that. It would appear that doctors don't know everything. Now--that is obvious, isn't it? But a lot of us still live in the culture that will trust the doctor to tell how to raise our kids as if they have the corner on the market on wise parenting. I now question (in my heart and mind) just about everything that they say. Ok, not everything but a lot. These folks need accountability. I want people to realize that just because the doctor said doesn't mean that it is true. VERIFY your information. Get a second opinion, for goodness sake.

I have been fortunate to have a beautiful nursing experience with both of my boys. This success in breastfeeding was in spite of my pediatrician rather than because of him. This well-meaning and very kind doctor had ancient information about nursing that, I imagine, hurt a lot of new mother's nursing experience. His inaccurate information (nurse for only 15 minutes because that is all he needs) lessened my milk supply and caused my son to stop gaining weight (of ultra importance since he was a preemie). He didn't understand the mechanics of breastfeeding. Many doctors don't, esp. those educated earlier than a few years ago. Recently, a woman in MS was told that her breastmilk was second to formula. WHAT??? This was a woman who had a good nursing relationship already going with her 12 wk. old.  It isn't like he was trying to tell her that to alleviate any momma-guilt.  That information is false and stems from a very outdated misconception dating back to the 50's.

So, pediatricians do not need to give parenting advice. Just fix my sick kid and we are good. OBGYN's and hospitals should stop dictating what a mama should do with her birthing experience (unless there is a high risk). There is so much information and research out there about what makes for a healthy and good birthing experience and it usually doesn't require as much intervention as some hospitals (or all if you are in mississippi) want to give you. Why do they want to give it? liability and greed (or is being afraid of being liable also greed?).

There are so many "booby traps" in place in hosptials that make it easy for a mama to quit trying breastfeeding. Hospitals (and obviously the formula companies) are too quick to offer formula to a mom who is frustrated b/c she is feeding her baby every hour. Why is she frustrated? Likely because some unknowing nurse or doctor told her that she should be feeding her baby only every 2 or 3 hours. that is also wrong--that is what you do for formula fed babies who take longer to digest their food. Because breastmilk is so easily digestible by the baby's tummy they need to eat more frequently. But now mama thinks she isn't producing enough milk to fill her baby so she starts supplementing with formula. The pain of nursing is also something that can be helped and taken care of yet mothers are not told that they can get around that but just opt to reach for that free sample of formula that was given to them. Some are just so misinformed about just how beneficial breastmilk is and for how long it is. (it doesn't stop being good for your baby at 6mos.-- in fact it is recommended for at least 2 years).

I'm using parenting/breastfeeding issues because I happen to come across these more often.  But it is just scratching the surface of the medical community as a whole.  Patients have to take responsibility for their health and treatment. Not too long ago my mother, who was having back/neck/knee problems went to a doctor for help. He offered her shots to help with the pain. Not novacaine, mind you, but big deal epidural type shots. He never suggested exercises, or even physical therapy. After a few months, my parents brought it up to the dr. and he said it was a good idea. why didn't he suggest that from the beginning that which was most helpful to her?

I haven't finished watching it but I plan to but I think I want to recommend to everyone to watch the documentary "The Business of Being Born". So far it has captured my thoughts about our medical system. Health care reform would not be so bad if it meant that hospitals weren't charging an arm and a leg so that third-party payers will dish out the funds. Eventually, this ups our costs of health insurance. I'm over it.

As an aside-I have trouble being coherent these days so my thoughts are all over the place. My best blogposts are composed in my head while I'm driving. Those never make it to the computer screen the same way. oh well.

P.S.  I am not a doctor hater.  In fact, I have a respect for the work and studying that goes into that profession.  I also know that there are doctors that are more humble and /or more educated than others.  It is a case-by-case basis where these individuals are actually taught poorly in schools or within their residencies.