Friday, June 25, 2010

Why aren't there more midwife-type practitioners?

I think going through a midwife for my pregnancy was one of the best choices I ever made. I don't think I could have had anything close to my positive experience if I had chosen another type of health care provider. That said, I'm frustrated now. I'm frustrated that there aren't more professionals using the midwife philosophies in their practices. I'm so glad that I can keep going to my midwife group for my regular gynecological appointments, but I wish they could do more.

Much like pregnancy, I feel that the point of early pediatric appointments are to stand out of the way of the child's development and just monitor it to make sure that there are no issues. How does going to a medically trained pediatrician differ from going to an obstetrician for pregnancy?

I feel like the doctor, more often than not, is looking for something to be wrong. I feel like they can often let their own judgments get in the way of their practice. Every visit to my child's pediatrician has included her telling me that it's ok to use formula instead of breastfeeding even though I have told her my opinions and cited research that contradicts her. I have been less than honest with her about our decisions to cosleep and breastfeed on demand because I'm afraid that she will think less of my parenting (how stupid is that).

Recently the World Health Organization published a new set of size charts for babies who are specifically breastfed. My pediatrician, at our one week appointment, insisted that we bring River in for a two week appointment because she had decided that River wasn't gaining enough weight. She decided this based on her chart that was developed including formula fed babies, even though formula fed babies typically gain more weight and are more likely to be obese. I think I might have to print out these newer charts and bring them in.

I really shouldn't feel that I need to educate my child's pediatrician.

You might be asking why I'm not going to another pediatrician that shares my views about raising children and stays more up-to-date on research.. well, there's a couple reasons: (1) those pediatricians don't seem to exist in my area, or if they do, I can't seem to find them. (2) The doctor that we're seeing was my hubby's doctor when he was younger, and he has some attachment to the idea of River seeing her.

I have given in to seeing this doctor in particular because I feel that I am well-researched enough to counter her opinions with well-researched fact, but I worry about mothers who don't do their own research and follow everything that the doctor says.

Back to the original topic of this post: I don't see why there can't be a practitioner that functions more like a midwife. This would include a weigh-in, some simple measurements, maybe some occasional testing, but mostly just a check-in. This would include talking to me like I'm an adult who might have some knowledge or at least know how to read instead of like a child who would be hopeless without the doctor's guidance. This would include getting to know us as a family instead of just River's statistics in her file. This would include telling us about a procedure, vaccine, or concern instead of just telling us what the doctor recommends. Why can't we have more medical practitioners like that?


  1. There ARE pediatricians like that out there, usually they are holistic pediatricians or something like that, here we have "whole family" holistic doctors. I don't think that all pediatricians are like you described, though. Mine expressed dismay that my breastfed son wasn't gaining quite like the charts said he should, but she agreed with however I wanted to handle it as long as he was producing enough wet diapers and didn't lose weight.

  2. I know there must be pediatricians like that, I just can't seem to find any in my area.

  3. I wonder if the "talking to [you] like [you're] an adult" would be easier accomplished if you weren't going to J's old pediatrician? Perhaps he/she still sees him--and, by association, you--as a child and thus has no idea that he/she's treating you as such.

    Other than that, the only other advice I have (which I'm sure you've already done/considered) would be to ask around; perhaps call the hospital nearest you and see if they have any recommendations? While it's annoying, you might need to travel a little further to get the care you want for River (since I'm sure there are doctors out there who share your ideas about raising a child), but it would definitely be worth it :).

    Good luck :).