01 July 2007

Advice for expectant parents: Bring your pediatrician's number to the hospital

Wow. These hacks have really been taking me down memory lane. I, too, had some scares in the hospital, no doubt magnified because I was recovering and hormonal and (!) a new mom. Great advice, Sara.

I find myself giving this advice to anyone who is expecting:  Take your pediatrician's office number to the hospital.  Anything you're told that makes you worried or stressed, call and ask for their advice.  Assuming you've done your due diligence :) and found a doctor you like and who has a good call-back policy, you can probably talk to a nurse within a couple of hours.

This would have saved me a considerable amount of trouble as a new mom, being told by the nurses in the maternity ward that my daughter was losing too much weight and any number of expensive and stressful things must be done to ensure she nursed and didn't lose more than 10% of her weight.  Fast forward a week, when my pediatrician told me that she's the doctor, and she only *starts* worrying when they lose 10% of their weight, and that she thought my daughter would have figured it out given a little bit more time.  Grrr.  You may understand my anger when I tell you this locked us into a bottle feeding/breast pumping cycle that lasted for months.

You never know what's going to happen at the hospital -- but being prepared to call someone else for medical advice is not a bad thing.

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What a geat hack! After our son was released from NICU, we kept wondering why our pediatrician didn't stop by. Because of a mistake by the hospital she wasn't informed of his NICU release for another 24 hours.

We might have thought to call her ourselves had we had the number with us.

Isn't your pediatrician the doctor who examined her/rounded on her regularly during the hospitalization?

Normally, yes. But when a baby goes into NICU (our son had low blood sugar and body temperature as a result of my gestational diabetes), they're attended by a NICU specialist. Here, when the baby is released from NICU (before the mother is discharged) the pediatrician then resumes care. But there was a mistake so our pediatrician wasn't informed about our son leaving NICU.

He was doing well and we were completely exhausted, so we didn't think to call her office (and honestly didn't notice when she didn't stop in).

Taking the phone number would have been a huge reminder to contact the pediatrician when we didn't see her.

And just because your pediatrician stops by once -- you might need her office more than that. Or when she's not stopping by. Or the day you leave. Etc.

My wife and I are Canadian and our medical system is different but my experience in general with nurses is that they are busy like mad and 'in the trenches' and while they may want to do otherwise, most often they are 'running the checklist' making sure that you and your baby 'hit the numbers', feeding check, didn't loose 10% check, body temp check etc. We had some issues with our son - he was not physically able to latch to breast-feed but they wouldn't take our word for it, just kept at it, trying to 'check the box' it wasn't until I pulled the pin, demanded a sit down the charge nurse and our Physician that they relented. Doctors (weather they are your pediatrician or in our case our family physician, who delivered our son) have more 'distance' and ability to assess an overall situation rather than the other staff engaged in direct ongoing care. This isn't a put down against nurses it's just an effect of their role.

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