Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear St. Louis, where are your AP friendly doctors?

I have been on the search, high and low, for attachment parenting friendly doctors in the St. Louis area. By AP friendly, I mean support breast-feeding, gentle parenting, and no sleep training. 

The first doctor I took my daughter to recommended using the CIO, cry it out, method of sleep training. I made it very clear that I was against this method, and all sleep training, but this doctor did not offer any other encouragement or suggestions. This doctor also recommended that I give my daughter rice cereal at four months. (The American Academy of pediatrics recommends that babies are six months of age or older before beginning any solid food.) Needless to say, although this doctor seemed like a very nice person, I was not impressed and felt like we were not on the same page.

I asked for suggestions for attachment parenting friendly doctors from some of my AP friendly Facebook groups. I was given a recommendation for another pediatrician. This pediatrician reportedly specializes in breast-feeding. One can imagine my disappointment when this doctor recommended night weaning my breast-fed baby before one year AND recommended long periods of CIO and sleep training. When I told this doctor I did not feel comfortable with sleep training, this doctor told me that it would be hard to listen to all of the crying, but I would just need to do it.

So I'm continuing my search and asking people for recommendations. People have told me that these type of physicians do not exist, and that I should continue to see a doctor that is not AP friendly and just ignore everything they have to say in regards to parenting style.

Every few weeks, I see a question from another mother asking where they can see an AP friendly doctor that does not recommend sleep training and supports breast-feeding. So far I have only heard of two recommendations, one in O'Fallon, Missouri and one in Webster Groves. These doctors either do not accept new patients or are limited in the insurance plans they accept.

This is completely unacceptable. Are St. Louis doctors not educated on the benefits of breast-feeding and the dangers of infant sleep training? Are St. Louis doctors not continuing their education to the point where they are recommending outdated nutritional information? 

Sure, I could continue to take my children to a doctor that I do not trust and that I am unwilling to ask parenting questions. But I believe that as a city, parents here deserve better than that. So St. Louis, where are your educated, AP friendly doctors?