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5 Secrets Every Pediatrician Wishes You Knew

We know that taking care of your child is a full-time job. But you don’t have to do it alone. Our pediatricians are here to help. Offering care from newborns to adolescents, you can trust that your child’s pediatrician will help your child grow and reach their developmental milestones.

 

Along the way, we know you might have a lot of questions about how to raise a healthy, happy child. Our pediatricians (who are moms and dads just like you!) share their secrets on how to do just that:

 

Trust your instincts

We might have an M.D. or D.O. after our names, but you’re the one who knows your child best. Since the moment your child was born, you’ve gotten all kinds of advice on the “right” way to parent your child. Sometimes, this advice can be helpful (or drive you crazy), but ultimately, you’re the one who understands the ins and outs of your child’s behavior, temperament and wellness. If something seems “off,” don’t brush away what your gut is telling you.

 

Need a little data to back up what you’re seeing or feeling? Here’s what you can do: Let’s say your child complains that their stomach hurts after eating. It might be helpful to keep a notepad of what your child eats for two weeks and bring it to your next appointment. That way, instead of just saying your child’s stomach hurts, you can show your pediatrician what kind of food your child is eating. This can help your pediatrician get to the root of what might be causing your child pain. 

 

Breastfeeding is challenging

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. But here’s something that we need to start being more open about with moms: Breastfeeding is hard. And we don’t want you to feel like a “bad mom” if you’re struggling with how to feed your baby. There’s no correct way to feed your baby, as long as they are getting the nutrients they need.

 

That being said, breastfeeding can help you bond with your newborn and the antibodies in breast milk have been proven to be beneficial for a child’s development. We’ll do everything we can to help you breastfeed, like getting you set up with a breastfeeding counselor through WIC, a lactation consultant or help you navigate your insurance to get a breast pump that fits your needs.

 

Not everything is an emergency

Sneezing, sniffling, coughing, aching — ugh, those are all run-of-the-mill signs of a nasty virus that your child picked up from daycare or school. We know this might be worrisome but take heart: An acute illness every once in a while is how your child builds up the immunity they’ll need to fight off disease for the rest of their life. 

 

If your child has a virus or cold, we recommend that you wait three days before making an appointment. Typically, most children will recover from a virus or cold within three days. If your child still isn’t feeling so great after three days, make an appointment. That way, you’ll get an accurate diagnosis of what’s going on.

 

But don’t forget: There are times when you should seek help from urgent care or go to the ER. Your pediatrician will tell you what to look out for, but typical things that need immediate attention are high fevers, rashes, excessive crying or not eating.

 

Every child is different

Our pediatricians see hundreds of children and families from across Illinois each year. We can promise you this: No matter what the pediatric guidelines and developmental milestones say, every child grows in their own way. When it comes to sleeping, crawling, teething, walking, talking or growing, don’t compare your child to what you’re seeing on the playground or scrolling through on social media. Enjoy your child for who they are instead of worrying if they are “ahead or behind.” Remember, we’ll be there right there with you. If we notice significant or major delays in certain areas, this is something we’ll talk to you about.

 

Take time for yourself

Parenting is hard work and at times, it can feel all-consuming. But to make sure you’re really being there for your child, you need to make sure you’re taking care of your own health, too. If you feel like you’re burning out, suffering from stress or not sleeping well, it’s OK to talk to your partner or family members about what you need. On some days, you might need someone to come over and watch your baby while you take a nap, but on other days, you might feel like asking your mom, grandma, sister or cousin to come over and make you dinner. Don’t be embarrassed about asking for help when you need it.

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