5 Things Your Pediatrician Wants You to Stop Doing
As a parent, there are few things more reassuring than a pediatrician giving your kid a clean bill of health. But, contrary to how it might feel when you’re commiserating with your doc over your recent sleep training nightmare, your pediatrician isn’t actually your therapist. Here are the things they wish you’d stop doing, in order to make their—and your—life a whole lot easier.
Stop saying your kid has a fever when he’s cold as ice
Despite what every mom thinks, you can't diagnose a fever simply by touch—or pressing your lips against your baby's forehead. (FYI, a fever must be measured by a thermometer and requires a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher.) Of course, there are times when a fever can be worrisome—for example, in an infant under two months and prior to her vaccines. But for most children, fevers are a good thing and how healthy bodies fight off infection.
Stop trying to diagnose your kid online
Sure, Google is loaded with tons of information ranging from totally normal to totally insane. (Leaches for an ear infection, you say?) But when you bring this crazy-pants “research” to your doctor, you are definitely driving her insane. “Searching for explanations for unexplained symptoms can lead to all sorts of wild speculation and worry, often without cause, and can potentially delay getting medical attention that you truly need,” says Dr. Jeffrey Luther, a family physician at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California. If you’re worried, call your pediatrician’s office or, if after hours consult reliable sites like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Stop arriving to appointments unprepared
Chances are, you have a boatload of questions. But instead of challenging your new-mom brain with the task of remembering to ask about the itchy leg rash or recommended butt paste, write it all down ahead of time. If you’re worried about a sound or motion your child makes, videotape it and bring the video to your office visit. Bottom line: You’re more likely leave satisfied and well-informed if you come prepared.
Stop asking for antibiotics for viral infections
Did you know that antibiotics do nothing to help the common cold—which your kid is likely to get six to ten times a year on average? "Unfortunately there's little that doctors can do to treat the illness, but overuse of antibiotics can do more harm than good in these situations," says Dr. William L. Bush, pediatrician-in-chief at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Stop freaking out over your kid’s poop
Just because your baby went a day without going number two, it doesn’t actually mean she's constipated. In fact, there's no "normal" when it comes to breastfed babies—and it's not completely abnormal for them to push out only one bowel movement a week. "The same goes for the color of her poop—it can be yellow, brown, orange, green," says Dr. Bush. Poop doesn't discriminate.