Motherhood

Why I Broke Up With My Pediatrician

If you follow me on instagram, you know we were dealing with a bad case of baby acne this week. I realize acne might not sound like a big deal but she was especially fussy, her entire face was red and inflamed, and it seemed like she was in pain.

Up until now, we had been seeing a doctor at Weissbluth Pediatrics – a practice that is supposed to be a good one. I had never tried to come in for an appointment beyond the standard ones you’re supposed to make (although it would be ok if I had). At our 1 month appointment, I mentioned that Margot had been spitting up a lot and I expressed my interest in changing formulas. I followed up with an email and was told that I should not change formula and that any formula claiming to help sensitive baby tummies was “bogus” (the doctor’s words). He suggested that we weigh her but that seemed like a ridiculous suggestion since a few days prior we had talked about how great it was that she went from the 50th to 70th percentile for weight. We knew she was gaining weight but she seemed uncomfortable.

So I switched her formula and guess what? She stopped fussing so much while she ate, and still spits up but doesn’t cry when she does it.

This was the first red flag, and I considered changing doctors but thought I’d give them one more shot.

I scheduled an appointment to have the nurse practitioner look at her skin. They got me in right away and he assured me everything was fine and suggested aquaphor. I asked if he was sure she was ok. If there was something stronger than aquaphor to help alleviate the symptoms faster.

And then it happened.

Me: How many times should I apply aquaphor each day?
Nurse practitioner: As many times as you like. It will give you something to do.

Yes, he actually said that. Word. For. Freaking. Word. 

I was PISSED. Not just for me, but for moms everywhere. What if I had been struggling with postpartum depression? Luckily I’m not, but like any new parent, I am struggling with this new role. Being a parent is hard! Newborns are hard! She’s amazing and I love her so much but I would be lying if I said I haven’t felt completely defeated at times. I always feel like I can’t get anything done and I’m lucky if I eat something by 2PM most days. So whether he was joking or not doesn’t matter. What he said was inexcusable.

Then I heard from the other doctor after sending photos of Margot’s face (I had done that before deciding to just go in).

Hi Danielle,

This looks VERY normal, and therefore should not be treated with anything. Please don’t worry or change anything you are doing.

Best,
Dr. I don’t care about your baby

I canceled our two month appointment and will not be going back to that practice. My point in sharing this story isn’t to bash Weissbluth pediatrics although I heard from at least 10 moms (via instagram) who left their practice because they had a terrible experience.

I’ve really struggled with how much to share about Margot. For now, I know you’ll never see anything anything remotely negative, embarrassing, or what I think might be too personal. She didn’t ask to have an online presence and I get that on some level, she’s going to have one. But I hope she’d want to help other new moms and babies, so I cropped these photos of her skin so you can see what we were dealing with. It’s just important to me that I am mindful of what I put out there while sharing my experience with parenthood.

These are just iPhone photos and are a bit blurry, but her entire face was very, very inflamed and she seemed miserable. Don’t tell me this wasn’t uncomfortable for her.

I wasn’t looking for someone to tell me what I wanted to hear. I knew my baby was unhappy and I needed to fix it. I scheduled an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist who came highly recommended to me. Dr. Aggarwal was absolutely wonderful. She was so sweet to Margot and told me that she was sure she was uncomfortable, and then prescribed 2 topical medications to help clear the inflammation and alleviate pain. And they worked. She took her first 3 hour nap in days and already seems a little less irritable. Her face started clearing up the day we started the topical medication and was so much better within 24 hours.

Here’s another grainy iPhone photo taken just one day after she got the medication that she needed. Skin is still red and bumpy but not bad at all! I think she’d be ok with me posting this one.

Our instincts mean something. We know our babies. Never let anyone make you feel like your thoughts and opinions about your child aren’t important. Even if the dermatologist had said what the pediatricians had told me, I just needed to know I did everything I could for her. But I knew she wasn’t ok. I questioned two doctors at our ex-practice and kept seeking answers.

Never stop fighting for your children.

Chicago parents: Child and Adolescent Health Associates and Town and Country Pediatrics came recommended by too many parents to count. 

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