Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guesswork in a White Coat

"They don't know what their doing, it's all guesswork in a white coat." - George Carlin on Doctors

As I finish up my first week as a parent, I have learned many lessons. First, my daughter is not really interested in what I do for a living, because she falls asleep every time I talk to her about it. Second, when your wife asks you to do something, telling her that I "have to do everything around here" is not a good response. Third, there are NO straight answers to parenting questions.

I have so many questions regarding how to take care of my daughter, and I can't seem to get a straight answer on any of them. Between the nurses in the hospital, the OB, the pediatrician at the hospital (not our regular pediatrician), the Grandparents Committee and Newmommy's friends, I've received conflicting opinions on even the most simple questions.

Do you clean the area around the umbilical cord before it falls off?
Nurses at the hospital: No
Pediatrician at the hospital: Yes.

Do you wake a sleeping baby to feed?
Nurse in the C-Section OR: No.
Nurse in the post-partum ward: Yes.
Pediatrician: No at night, yes during the day.

To supplement breastfeeding, should you use a bottle?
Pediatrician: Yes.
Other doctor in the post-partum ward (and nurses): No, cup feed instead, as the baby may get "Nipple Confusion." (So, "Nipple Confusion" is NOT taking home the wrong girl after a drunk night out.)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The medical profession is a lot like the legal profession in that there are practicioners who have different professional opinions. I just thought that such essential (and basic-sounding questions) would have some agreed-upon answers.

We have our first appointment with our real pediatrician today. We've met with her and respect her position on a lot of issues, so my view is to let her get the deciding vote on all of this.

1 comment:

Boruch said...

Of course, you already have received enough advice, so I shouldn't add any. But, as you know, I always do anyway.

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to issues of health, 90% of the time, the body knows what to do on its own. We were created that way. Most sicknesses heal themseles. Women have given birth since the beginning. Of course, there are cases when things are going wrong, and those require intervention. But this should be done only when evidence indicates that it is necessary.


If you're baby is prone to sleeping for very long stretches and isn't getting up to eat, then you should wake her. If not, then you don't need to do so just because she slept an extra 1/2 hour.

If you have some good reason to believe that Newmommy is underperforming in the dairy production department, then I guess you'll have to supplement, but otherwise, rest assured that her body can and will produce precisely the amount that Buddette requires.

Doctors, as great as they are, are trained to believe that intervention is required for the normal functioning of life. They are also super-nervous about not intervening and being blamed for something that happens later. It's important to seek your doctor's advice but, like everything else, a healthy dose of skepticism is required.


Oh, and a little bit of alcohol is all you should need...for the umbilical cord, I mean, but take it however you like.