Part of pregnancy is trying to prepare for everything! You research the best car seats, cribs, and even laundry detergent! But one thing you may not have considered researching is your future pediatrician. So many times, we hear from clients that they wish they had known their provider’s stance on breastfeeding before they brought their baby to them.
Many pediatric practices offer tours or complimentary consults for expectant parents. Take advantage of these! Take this opportunity to find out in advance how their practice handles breastfeeding challenges and how up to date the doctors are on breastfeeding recommendations. Unlike IBCLCs, doctors receive very little lactation education and are not required to stay up to date on the latest research in the field of lactation unless they choose to seek out that knowledge on their own. It’s not their fault; it just isn’t their area of expertise! Human lactation is an ever-evolving field as new research emerges! If a pediatrician was licensed 25 years ago, their knowledge of breastfeeding might be 25 years old!
This list can help you choose a pediatrician who will be an active and supportive member of your breastfed baby’s Care Team!
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When you're done with this post check out our other most popular blogs!
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Everything You Need For Breastfeeding and (Everything You DON'T)
And of course, our Pump More Milk For Your Stash guide
Here's your list! You can also click the link below to get a free printable version of this checklist.
Most first time parents don’t know how important it is to find a breastfeeding friendly pediatrician until it’s too late. This will help you find one who supports your breastfeeding journey from the first latch to the final day of weaning.
*The reason it’s important to know if your doctor accepts lunches or attends conferences paid for by formula companies is that the nutrition information presented there is biased to downplay the benefits of breastfeeding and suggest formula is “just as good”, so the information on infant nutrition they’re receiving (and passing on to you) is biased. The World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes forbids formula companies from advertising to pediatricians, OBs, or parents, or giving away free samples of their products because these practices have been proven to sabotage breastfeeding. The US is one of the only developed nations that refuses to follow the Code. Individual practices can choose to follow it (although very few of them do, or are even aware it exists). It is fully possible for a doctor to be very supportive of breastfeeding and still accept samples and lunches from formula reps, but you should know as a parent that the information your doctor is receiving on infant nutrition is coming from corporations who stand to benefit monetarily from you NOT meeting your breastfeeding goals. Formula reps may visit an office every week to talk to the doctors about how hard they’ve worked to make their product like breastmilk. Unless that office also has an IBCLC on staff, the doctors in the practice aren’t getting up to date, evidence based lactation information with the same frequency they’re being told formula is an equivalent alternative to human milk. It’s hard not to be subconsciously influenced by that persistent message.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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