I notice reoccurring posts in mom-groups on Facebook that honestly bothers me to my core. I get so bothered that I get upset and angry. It’s like a train wreck that I can’t look away from.
The posts are about horrible experiences at the Pediatrician’s office and horrible advice given to mothers that totally go against every maternal instinct in our bodies.
I just want to reach through my computer to hug moms who have been bullied or made feel like a failure/bad mom by the doctor/nurses and tell them “you are a good mom!”
I have had my fair share of awful doctor appointments with my son. Every appointment I go to, I leave more upset than the time before and my faith in doctors dwindles a little more.
Pediatrician’s are great for some reasons, but so many, too many, of them stick their noses into things that’s literally none of their business. For example, nursing to sleep, rocking to sleep just to name a couple.
I see variations of this post literally everyday. “Am I a bad mom for nursing my baby to sleep? The doctor said he’s too old and should fall asleep on his own by now.”
Let me ask you this. Does your baby think you’re a bad mom for nursing him to sleep? I think that milk drunk chunk of baby love in your arms would say no. He loves the snuggles and appreciates it.
Let me ask you this too. Before the doctor put that doubt in your head, did you think you were a bad mom for nursing your child to sleep? Most likely not. You did what you had to do to get your baby to sleep without creating WW3. You met your child’s needs with the method that works for your child. There is NOTHING wrong with this. At. All.
I saw a post about a mom who left her 7 month old to cry in his room by himself for SIX hours. Her question was not how can I help him, why could he be crying so much, no, her question was, why didn’t he fall asleep and how can he cry for so long? At first I was angry and judged her, I’m not a saint, I judge and it’s something I need to work on about myself I admit. It’s hard though when I have the image of a poor baby screaming in his bed for his mother who is deliberately ignoring him. I read the comments. I’m usually a silent observer because I don’t like confrontation if someone replies. Most moms were asking her questions like is he teething, did he need a diaper change etc then I saw it. The dreaded doctor comment.
“Oh well his doctor said he should only be waking up once, twice at the most, at his age and said he needs to learn to self soothe.”
The anger I feel when I see that is real. My heart hurts for the babies and my heart hurts for the mothers who are going against their instincts because someone told them to. How on earth is it socially acceptable to LEAVE YOUR INFANT TO CRY FOR HOURS?!?! It baffles me. It really does.
Now this isn’t all about the crying issue, I could write on that for days. This is about how pediatricians are giving moms a false picture of how their child *should* behave or what they *should* be doing by x age.
Here are reasons I wake up during the night as an adult or struggle to fall asleep. I’m sure others’ lists are longer.
I have to pee
I heard a noise
I can’t sleep in general
My cat woke me up
My dog scratched herself and clanked her collars
I’m stressed and my mind won’t turn off
It’s too bright in the room
The fan isn’t on
Things can wake a baby up just like adults. If they’re cold, they can’t cover themselves up like we can. If they’re hot they can’t take off their clothes like we can. If they have a wet diaper, they can’t change themselves. If they want a hug, they can’t roll over and get a cuddle. Get my point? Crying is communication for a need. So why do doctors tell moms to ignore the cries, therefore the needs, of their children? I don’t get it.
Especially at night. You don’t stop being a parent at night. You respond to your kids when they need you. Period.
Let me paint a picture for you.
Your kid is 6, feels like crap. Been vomiting and has a fever. It’s the middle of the night. He comes into your room, wakes you up, says he’s thirsty. Probably dehydrated from throwing up. So you get up to help your sick baby get a drink because he can’t reach the cups or the water facet. You go back up to his room and he wants you to lay with him because he doesn’t feel good and starts to whine “mom my tummy hurts.” You cuddle him and say you’re sorry and that you wish he wasn’t sick.
Have you ever heard a pediatrician tell a mother not to respond to their child in a scenario such as this? Nope. Because there was something wrong, the child needed something and it’s healthy for children to feel comfortable coming to their parents.
Let’s paint another picture here.
Your son is 7 months old. He’s cutting a tooth for the first time. His mouth hurts and he has no idea what is happening. He’s never felt this sensation before and it’s unpleasant, probably scary. The pain wakes him up in the middle of the night so he cries for comfort, reassurance.
No one comes. He doesn’t understand the pain, he doesn’t understand why no one is coming to help because he’s crying. So he continues to cry but for a new reason. Now he’s scared someone is never going to come get him. He’s alone and confused because During the day when he cries, someone comes to help. But at night, no one comes.
You know why no one comes? Because the doctor said “he shouldn’t be waking at night at that age” and a tired, desperate sleep deprived new mom is listening to the doctor over her maternal instincts to help her crying child at night.
So in the first picture, the older child has developed language, to communicate the issue specifically. The second picture, he can’t talk. He is too little. He talks by crying. Even if yes, his diaper is changed, yes, he’s fed, yes, he’s warm. He may simply just need you. And that’s ok. It’s normal and more than ok for your baby to just want you.
“But the doctor said…”
I once read a post by a mom whose pediatrician laughed like it was no big deal when she locked her older child in her room at night so she couldn’t come out and ask for things and if she had to pee, there was a bucket in the corner. That’s disgusting. I’d run out of that office quicker than a bullet out of a gun. If a doctor does that to her own children, does she really care about her patients?
“If I pick him up he immediately stops.”
Ok good! Then he wanted you! He needed you!
“But the doctor told me not to pick him up when he cries so I don’t know what to do. It makes me sad to hear him cry.”
*throws hands up in fury*
WHO EFFING CARES WHAT THE DOCTOR SAYS!!!!! Is he there at night? No. Is he listening to your child scream? No. it makes you sad to hear it because your maternal instinct tells you to respond. So respond.
New mothers are so overwhelmed with so many things, we question ourselves on every little thing, we are incredibly vulnerable. The doctor may tell us something that just doesn’t settle right in our hearts, but we believe the doctor and “try” his suggestion. You know what you get with that? Mom guilt. And we create enough of that ourselves without their help. Because you tried and you couldn’t take hearing your sweet baby cry so you tell the doctor that you “caved.”
You caved to societal pressures that disregarded your instincts. Tending to your crying baby is not called caving, it’s called mothering.
Here’s a BIG one that gets my blood boiling too. When pediatricians give down right WRONG information about breast feeding.
I had to stop commenting on posts because I was tired of trying to help when the response was “well the doctor said” and she wasn’t going to listen to other moms who have experience breast feeding and were trying to help.
It especially annoys me that the pediatrician is culturally accepted as smarter than IBCLC when it comes to breast feeding. Yes the ped has significantly more schooling, but the ibclc lives and breathes breast feeding. That’s what they do, that’s all they learned about. Pediatricians need to work WITH ibclc’s to help moms succeed at breast feeding. It is a method in which some women chose to feed their child, therefore a pediatrician should know about it.
I had a horrible experience with a ped who didn’t understand breast feeding and as a new mom I tried his recommendation. This is also another piece of misinformation I see all over mom pages. Only feed your baby for 10 minutes then cut him off. This was the solution I was given because my son was spitting up.
I was nursing my son (1 mo th old at the time) while in the office and I said “oh well he’s been on longer than that.”
“Alright, no more buddy”
So I unlatched him. I felt obligated. My son turned into a red tomato and screamed like I’d never heard him scream before. It was hard to hear the doctor or have any sort of conversation while he was screaming. I felt so bad. As soon as we got to the car I gave him boob back until he was satisfied. And you know what’s worse? I tried that stupid recommendation several more times before listening to my son who was clearly telling me he was not done eating.
The other nursing moms and the ibclc I saw said not to do that, and knowing all I know now about breast feeding I’m so glad I didn’t keep trying because I would have ruined my supply. I’m just thankful I didn’t get mastitis while attempting such terrible advice.
This is a topic for another time, but for what it’s worth, don’t time your breast feeding sessions, that’s not how it works.
You do not have to listen to your doctor. They can recommend things, but you don’t have to do them. You are the parent. Don’t let them bully you. Don’t let them make you feel less than a good mother because you ARE a good mother despite what the doctor says.
Doesn’t matter what the doctor says.
Your child is YOURS. The pediatrician isn’t in your house, he isn’t raising your child. YOU are. If a piece of advice makes you wary, you don’t have to do it. The doc isn’t going to come by at night and say “remember don’t pick him up if he cries .”
Take care of your baby. Respond to your baby.
The doctor doesn’t matter.
Trust your mom gut.
My son is 13 months old, nurses to sleep, sleeps in bed with me and my husband, wakes 4+times every night to nurse. And I don’t care what the pediatrician says. He is mine and my husbands child that God has blessed us with, not me, my husband and his doctor.
He’s just ours. We make the decisions.
Your child is yours.
Not your doctors.
Please mamas, don’t doubt your instincts. They’re powerful, you have them for a reason.
Thanks Doc but, this crunchy mama is going to keep cuddling her baby cause he won’t be a baby for very long.