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Mama Knows Best or Doctor Knows Best? Finding the Balance
With internet searches at our fingertips, we mamas have a lot more information at the ready than mothers of generations past. When I make a decision about my baby’s healthcare, I often do an internet search before talking to her doctor. Nothing, however, can take the place of a good pediatrician, and in Elvie’s case, a good medical team, to take charge of her care. But with all this additional information in front of me, sometimes my opinions can differ quite a bit not only from other parents, but from our doctors’ opinions. The key is to sort out what is truly best for my baby. There needs to be a balance between just doing what the doctor says to do and bringing my own concerns to the table. There are three things I’ve done to find that balance.
I chose a pediatrician that I could trust and disagree with. Those may sound like opposing goals, but what I’ve discovered is that my children get the best care when my pediatrician is not threatened by me disagreeing with her on some point, but will consider what I have to say before making a recommendation. Sometimes our pediatrician will stick with her original recommendation, but often after hearing me out, she will adjust the course of action she recommends. I know that she respects me and listens to me, and that is essential.
I remember that I know my baby better than my doctor does. Doctors see multiple patients in a day, or even in an hour, and it has been essential for me to point out things that they don’t know about my baby or remind them of things that are unique to her. They can’t make the best plan for my baby’s care if they don’t have all the information that applies to a situation. For example, when we were in the hospital with Elvie, the doctors were concerned that she wasn’t eating as much as she did prior to being admitted for surgery. I was able to give the information that Elvie eats less when she is distracted, and they agreed that a home environment would likely help her eat better since the hospital is full of distractions. When I have information about my baby that the doctors are not aware of, it’s my responsibility to speak up.
I show respect for my baby’s doctors’ knowledge and follow their recommendations. While I would sometimes prefer to do something differently than my baby’s doctors recommend, I also know that they have knowledge that I do not have, and it is wise for me to listen to them in order to help my baby heal as quickly as possible. Showing respect is a two way street, and if I expect my baby’s doctors to respect and acknowledge what I have to say, I need to do the same for them. While I know Elvie better than the doctors do, they know more about treating her medical issues than I do. When I follow their instructions, I both develop a good and trusting relationship with them and also help my baby heal. Win-win.
For me, finding and maintaining this balance is an ongoing process, but if I start with these three things, it is much easier to work it out. I’m learning more and more with every doctor appointment. Elvie is growing and thriving, and that is thanks to being able to work together with her pediatrician and medical team to give her the best care possible. Together, we’ve given her good health, and that is simply amazing.