In one of my previous posts, I discussed how finding a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician is crucial in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Apparently, here in the Philippines, this is much easier said than done. Ask any pediatrician and they will tell you that "yes, i am a breastfeeding advocate". Probe much further and you'll find where your pediatrician's "true loyalties" lie.
I asked a pediatrician-friend why a lot of pediatricians claim to be pro-breastfeeding but end up undermining the breastfeeding relationship instead. She shared that most of the time, pediatricians do not truly understand what it means to be "breastfeeding-friendly". For them, by suggesting that breastfeeding is best, they believe that they are already pro-breastfeeding. However, at the first sign of trouble, they cave in and give formula instead -- thinking that it is for the best.
Indeed, this is very disturbing and I had such an experience with one of the pediatricians my daughter and I visited. This pediatrician was highly touted to be a naturalist and breastfeeding-friendly. When I visited her, she told me that I had to wean Naima when she turns 9 months since she needed to be independent. I really got turned off and went to another doctor. Just recently, I heard that she told another new mom to "take a break from breastfeeding" because the new mom was having so many issues/problems with it.
However, I still have a LOT of breastfeeding friends who go to her -- and these friends are extended nursers. I've asked them about their experiences and they tell me that this doctor does not say anything about their babies still breastfeeding even beyond one. In my opinion, going to this pediatrician won't be a problem if the mom has a solid breastfeeding background, with a strong personality (no to independent life force at 9 months) and does not have breastfeeding issues and problems. Otherwise, I think the mom is better off going to a "true" breastfeeding advocate.
There have been several articles and posts written about how to find a breastfeeding friendly pediatrician. Instead of re-writing the tips, I decided to compile all the links here for mothers to easily click on and refer to.
- BabyCenter Philippines' tips written by L.A.T.C.H. President Buding Aquino-Dee are organized into steps moms can take and questions they should ask when interviewing a potential pediatrician.
- Best for Babes has a comprehensive list on establishing your "A-Team"
- Dr. Jack Newman also has a summary of things to watch out for to know that your pediatrician is NOT a breastfeeding advocate.
- Parenting.Ivillage has also devised questions based on the "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding" developed by the WHO and UNICEF in 1990.
- You can also read this post by The Milk Mama where she described her experiences with a self-proclaimed breastfeeding friendly pediatrician who ended up threatening her nursing relationship with her son
Meanwhile, if you're a pediatrician or OB-Gyne wishing to establish a breastfeeding-friendly practice, you can check out the tips from Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition (pediatricians, OB-gynes) or download this list on how to establish a breastfeeding friendly practice from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
I'm not going to recommend any one pediatrician who is breastfeeding friendly. Choosing a doctor for your baby is very personal and no one can make this decision for you. I highly recommend that moms do their homework, start interviewing and choosing their pediatricians even while pregnant to ensure that the pediatrician they end up with will not be a hindrance to the establishment of a successful breastfeeding relationship with their baby.