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.