One of the most important choices you will make as a new parent is choosing the right pediatrician. This will be the person you rely on for the next 18 years to help guide you through making medical decisions for your child. How can you make sure that your pediatrician is going to work with you during your breastfeeding journey? We asked Dr. Leila Hall, pediatrician at Next Generation Pediatrics, for her thoughts.
What is the best way to determine if your pediatrician is breastfeeding friendly/knowledgeable? Dr. Hall: Ask! Don’t be shy about discussing personal issues like breastfeeding, sleep-training, vaccinating, etc. with your pediatrician. This doctor is going to be your trusted partner in medical care for your child for years ahead. So, if you are not finding them comfortable to talk to, consider finding another doctor with whom you can talk freely. Breastfeeding is very important issue, and if your pediatrician doesn’t support you in your stance on it, it is good to know ahead of time.
What should I say if I disagree with something my pediatrician says? (Eg, wants me to supplement baby and I don’t want to?) Dr. Hall: Your pediatrician should be a resource for information and guidance, but the doctor is not your dictator. Viewing the relationship as a partnership can be a helpful framework for navigating disagreements. Of course, we all hope to maintain a polite and respectful relationship (on both sides!), but asking for alternative options is perfectly fine.
Also, if you are not comfortable with what your pediatrician suggests (or if you are simply not going to follow the directions), it is always better to state your concerns clearly so the doctor can help you formulate another plan of care.
What is the best way to bridge any gaps? Open communication is key! Hopefully, your pediatrician will support you in your breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not a strong suit for your otherwise wonderful pediatrician, they should be very supportive of your consulting an IBCLC (lactation consultant).
Thank you Dr. Hall for your time and help!