Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This Won't Work

Evidently there's some idea that babies--since they are babies--have no need for privacy and/or are not suitable to be dealt with in a dignified manner when it comes to access to or display of their bodies.  In addition to the very out in the open baby changing stations in many high traffic public restrooms, there's this seemingly standard process in pediatric offices to subject babies to an examination process that's obviously uncomfortable for them and very likely hard to watch for many parents.

I don't doubt that the attending nurses have nothing but the best intentions when carrying out the tasks that they've been trained to perform, however the larger medical establishment seems to have forgone the use of basic logic--and if nothing else, plain old consideration--when setting up the rules that medical care givers are expected to uphold. 

We are not in agreement with having them remove all of baby's clothes when they want to weigh her.  Further, this whole thing about using a rectal thermometer to take a baby's temperature could use some serious reconsideration.  The one time that either of these tactics were used, Noni was not a happy baby at all. 

This is actually a picture of Noni improving upon her oral communication, aka spitting--something she's been doing a lot of lately as mentioned in a previous post and wouldn't stop doing when I was taking the picture. That facial expression, though, is one *anybody* might display if subjected to that stuff they try to pull during baby examinations!

Part of our duty as parents is to keep her healthy and happy, and that was enough for us to decide that, no, we will make the rules on how our baby is handled when we take her to appointments.  Plus, after all but asking them had they lost their minds, we gave the doctor and other staff a rundown on why all of that just isn't cool, even though we know they're merely adhering to standards that they personally didn't put in place.

These days when she goes to appointments, all clothes stay on and her temperature is taken under the arm. Whatever the weight is, we subtract some to account for clothes and keep it moving. If getting a more precise weight means she's got to be completely exposed in a freezing cold facility for anyone who's passing by to see as she wails due to the discomfort of it all, then we'll pass.  Her pediatric visits go well each time now, and she's happy and playing the entire time.

A quick point to say that we were told the rectal thermometer was used to--like weighing baby while naked--get a more precise measurement, so that if baby is in the office for something specific, fever can be ruled out.   I'm not sure what the variation is between temperature taken rectally versus orally or under the arm.  However, my intuition tells me that the difference isn't significant enough for a baby to be examined that way.  Further, I'll just take it upon myself to determine whether or not she has fever prior to taking her in to the doctor if I suspect something serious is going on.  Other than that, she's just at the appointment for the basic checkup that's recommended every couple of months or so.  (It's basically just something for us to go do every now and then to see how much she has grown, since, thankfully, she's very healthy and any issue that may arise is quickly resolved with a little research and application of whatever measures are necessary.)

As I've learned in these five months that she's been here, many times I just have to go with what feels right to me as her mother in terms of having her best interest in mind.  The rest isn't my concern.


  1. I always thought that unclothed weighing and rectal temperature taking were unpleasant for babies, but it never occurred to me to suggest other options to my children's pediatrician. I'm glad that you did. I wonder why pediatricians don't use forehead scanning thermometers, since they seem like the most kid-friendly choice.

  2. I know, right!? Well, they argue that the rectal one is more accurate. But like I mentioned in the post, for me, if that's what it takes to get the most accurate reading, then we'll pass. I don't think the accuracy is as relevant during routine visits. They're really good at making people feel like it's a do or die situation, though.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...