Pushing Off Appointments

appointments, doctor appointments, calendar, appointment calendar

I have to make an appointment for Shlomo at the Tipat Chalav (the birth to age six health and wellness center, where they give vaccines, routine checkups, and screenings).  And I’ve been pushing it off, because every time I think about it, I get annoyed.  Why?

Well, first of all, it is an annoying [steep] uphill walk from where I live.  Granted, Yitzchak makes this walk almost every day, to go to the mikva. (I say “almost”, because sometimes he has to skip, and sometimes he goes in a different mikva, near where he is studying.)  I am not Yitzchak, though, and he is not walking uphill with a stroller when he goes.  Also, I tend to walk fast, which is good, but can wear you out early if you’re not careful.

Second of all, I am not thrilled with this branch of the Tipat Chalav.  Each family is assigned a branch based on where they live, and it is pretty much impossible to change branches.  Here’s why I’m not thrilled:

1) When Shlomo was eight and a half months old, we went in to make up a missed vaccine (more on those later).  The nurse weighed and measured him, and told me that he had gone down in percentile, even though he had grown since his last visit, at six months.  She also told me that to raise his percentile and make sure he was getting enough to eat(?!?!?! he’s been gaining weight steadily,he’s happy, and other than his size, he’s perfectly normal, thank G-d, and even a bit ahead at 8.5 months), I should give him a few ounces of chicken a day. Lady, what do you expect?  First of all, you are not asking for the background information:  We switched his nursing schedule drastically two weeks ago, and he hasn’t quite gotten fully used to it yet.  And, percentile isn’t everything: this kid has two tall, slender, parents, who both held to the lower end of normal for weight for most of their lives, and at one point, either during puberty or pre-puberty were slightly underweight.  So, I don’t care too much that he dropped in percentile.

Second of all, most babies in this country do not nurse past one month, usually not past three months, and certainly not past six months.  Yes, some do, but it is not common, at all.  In fact, it is so uncommon that I might venture to call it rare.  And, as we all know, in order to receive enough nutrition from formula, a baby needs to eat a lot more of it – and often, it makes babies slightly fat.  So again, percentile doesn’t matter too much here.  Compare him to other breastfed babies, and I might think differently.

And third, he is sick of nursing.  It takes too long, takes too much effort, and he knows that he can fill his tummy on something else.  So, we are literally fighting just to keep him nursing.  Give him chicken?  Right.  Then for sure he won’t want to nurse.  And I’m really sorry, Mrs. Nurse, but he needs my milk more than he needs any other food at this point.  Talk to me again after his birthday.

2) At Shlomo’s one-year checkup, we got a second nurse, who told us that she was giving him his MMR vaccination.  That was fine; that was why I had come.  Later on, I looked at his vaccination record to check something else, and realized that she had given him, with the MMR but without telling (or asking) me, the chickenpox vaccination.  This is a vaccination that we were on the fence about, for various reasons.  We had decided to push it off.  And she gave it to him, without permission?!?!  No matter what I would have done or would not have done, now or later, you don’t do anything to a child without his parents’ permission.

3) One of my friends asked the nurse at her branch (she’s not my neighbor, so different branch) a question, and the nurse told her outright that they have books with statistics and charts, and that is what they go by.   They don’t know anything except for the protocols in their books, so she can’t answer my friend’s question.  Very impressive.

Oh, and my last nitpick about the clinics?  They have formula advertisements everywhere.  Great environment for mothers, right?  They apparently offer lactation consultant services, too, but their services usually do not help a mother who is struggling to keep breastfeeding, and most mothers who turn there for help end up formula feeding.

So, given all of this, is it any shock that I do not want to take him back until I have to, for his last set of [early childhood] vaccinations?  I think not.  But, I will make the appointment and take him anyways, because a professor that I respect told me that even though he’s probably fine (and she said specifically that she doesn’t see a problem, thank G-d), I should still get him checked out.

Please take my poll!  Thank you.

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8 thoughts on “Pushing Off Appointments

    • Not everyone – breastfeeding is starting to make a comeback, but formula feeding is still the norm. It’s pretty much assumed that you formula feed, unless you explicitly state otherwise.

      Some non-religious and Religious Zionist/Chabad circles are more pro-breastfeeding (in college, I was one of many mothers who nursed and pumped – formula was much less common, but chareidi/chassidish circles are almost completely formula – you have to be, if you want to keep up with a community who has babies every 12 months).

      Yes, it is a lot cheaper – formula here costs a fortune! Unfortunately, most people simply consider that to be a fact of life.

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      • Nursing serves as solid birth control until 6 months, for 90% of the population. (The breakdown: For 10% it will never work at all. For 10% it will work, no matter how many times a day you nurse. For 80%, it will work only if you go according to the rules.)

        Your kids are 22 months apart, though – why are you complaining? 😉 I mean, 24+ months is ideal, but you’re not so far off from that . . . Have you read up on LAM? Take a look at LLL’s website, as well as Kellymom.

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      • Hey hey hey, I was hoping no one was counting the months between my mazal tov posts!! (who am I kidding, I did the same with other bloggers, at least I was married over a year when I announced my first 😉 )

        I know LAM, but even that is only really reliable the first 6 months… and my kids needs to eat solids! 2 stories on that:

        1) my sister’s sister-in-law has had to get speech therapy for more than one child for swallowing and eating techniques because she nursed for so long (over a year) without introducing solids

        2) A friend of mine works in a clinic in Williamsburg, she was in the room when the Dr told a mother that her 18 month year old was malnourished, and she should talk to a Rav and stop using her child as birth control

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      • Well, sorry I counted! I was just curious . . . 😛

        Yeah, LAM only works for the first six months – but apparently I am one of the 10% who can nurse whenever and it’ll still work . . . you never know till you try for a whole year if you’re also one of those.

        1) Wow, not introducing solid foods for over a year? That is crazy (and maybe negligent parenting). I feel bad for the kid. But for sure, I didn’t know that it could cause speech problems.

        2) Um, yeah, that’s a little odd. Nursing at 18 months, fine. But not letting the kid eat anything else? Abuse again. There are plenty of halachically okay methods of birth control, and technically, until your kid is two years old, you don’t have to ask a rav at all.

        How long did you nurse for? I stopped at 14 months, just didn’t feel like fighting anymore (he got bored of nursing at 7 months, I figured that down the road, he’d thank me for persisting, even if he was mad at the time).

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      • I nursed till a little after I found out I was pregnant, around 13 months, but by then it was once a day, not even at night… might be TMI but I only got my period back when my kid was 11 months old.

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      • Tis okay, I don’t take it as TMI. We were nursing 4 times a day from 8 months till 12.5, and then we started cutting back. By 14 months it was once a day. I got my period back at almost 9 months, three weeks after we switched his schedule (he didn’t need to eat as often as we were feeding him). But, nursing still worked as BC. Apparently, nursing does a lot of things to make sure baby won’t have to share, and only one of those things is preventing your period.

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