Well Child Visits (YES or NO?)

I get asked these questions a lot!

“Since you don’t vaccinate, do you take your child in for his well exams?”

“Do you ever take your kids to the doctor?”

“How do you feel about this subject in general!”

This topic is hard because I honestly feel there is no right or wrong answer. 

Let’s look at some research first….

This indicates that experts have been doubting the evidence supporting regular developmental screening, behavioral screening, and psychosocial assessments for years simply due to the lack of research backing it up.

Also this abstract suggest that inappropriate screening practices, high thresholds for referral, misplaced concerns about causing parental anxiety, and unfamiliarity with local resources all diminish the effectiveness with which many practitioners conduct developmental surveillance.

I guess for the holistic parents out there here comes the million dollar question then, “should we skip the well visits?”

Here is a good article about the “crunchy mama dilemma!”

In this article she talks about this great book, “A practical guide to Children’s Health!”

I also love this series, Does your doctor respect you? (Part 1 & 2)

This is a great read, “The adverse side effects of trusting your Doctor.” 

Our story:

*With my oldest, we did go to every well-child visit before we stopped vaccinating.

*With my middle son, we only went to a couple times because….

1. We always waited about 2 hours in the waiting room

2. We were not vaccinating him.

3. I did not connect with our doctor that well (always lecture us about vaccinating, push antibiotics, ect).

4. We sometimes saw multiple doctors, so we had no time to develop a relationship.

5. I would always leave feeling like it was not really worth it. (I just waited that long for you to tell me what I already knew, my kids are very healthy!)

*From those experiences, with our youngest, he has been to close to ZERO well visits.

I only took him in for a follow up once out of the NICU.

Until we moved to Idaho…..

We got lucky and have been pretty blessed in this department since we moved here. He found a doctor that has a nice family practice, so we can see him as well. We were referred to him by another holistic family. The nurse came in and did her thing and then said, “the doctor will be with you shortly!” When he came in, he was so nice and friendly, and seemed to not mind my kids lasting energy!..LOL! Here was our conversation.

Doctor: “So you won’t be doing any imms?”

Me: “Pardon, “imms” oh you mean, vaccines?”

Doctor: “Chuckling, yes yes! Thats just fun lingo I like to use.”

Me: “Laughing, yes correct, no vaccines for us.”

Doctor: “Ok great! I’ll make a note of it so no one will question you again. Also if you ever need a note of any kind for your exemption, or if the laws change – I will be happy to write one for you.”

Me: “Awesome, I appreciate that so much!”

Doctor: “I take it you want to avoid antibiotics or drugs whenever possible as well?”

Me: Yes, your speaking my story, thank you!

Doctor: Your very welcome!

Seriously, I was so blown away by this doctor! WOW, I was so thankful to call him our own. No wonder all the holistic parents love him. He was very down to earth, totally supported our lifestyle and made us feel comfortable the whole visit.

I really like his approach to things. A couple months ago, I came to him with a aliment/concern with one of my sons. I tried EVERY natural thing you could think of to help what was going on, but nothing worked. So, I called my doctor and told him what was going on. He said to bring him in and they would take a look at it.

I have memorized these questions to ask the doctor if he chooses to do antibiotics…..

1. Are you certain this is a bacterial infection and not a viral, and if so what, how and why? 

2. Will you do a culture to be certain it is in fact bacterial and needs antibiotics? 

3. What risks am I/they taking if I refuse an antibiotic?

4. If I/they take this antibiotic, what are the risks and side effects that come with it?

5. Is there any other measures I/We can take instead doing antibiotics?

Luckily, none of my children have yet to be put on any antibiotics, besides my youngest when it spent time in the NICU.

This is a good read: 5 steps to making natural healthcare decisions

My son had a weird bump by his urethra on his genitals, and he took one look at it and said, “I don’t want to treat this with antibiotics just yet, I think we can do a less invasive way, and if it does not work we can discuss it further with what you would like to do.” He gave me this oxygenated cream and told me to try it first. He also told me to continue with the natural stuff I was doing at home, and hopefully us working together – we could help him. It ended up working. I was so very pleased with his diagnosis and how he handled it. I felt completely respected and very excited, that yes, we finally found a doctor that we LOVE! His whole staff is amazing. I have seen the NP as well and she is as like minded as he is. 

We just had his my youngest sons yearly exam today. We have the older 2 boys annual in the summer. It seriously took about 7 minuets if that. The hardest part was undressing him…LOL! Since I had not been in a while, the Doctor made sure and said, “were not doing any shots right?” I said, “yes that is correct.” He asked me if we would be doing any in the future at all and I told him NO. He smiled and said, “Great, just wanted to make sure, and if you have any questions about anything please feel free to ask!” How refreshing! Again he told me what I already knew, we have a very happy healthy children!

So back to the topic at hand, I’m talking specifically to holistic moms here, I not going to say that someone must go to these visits when they feel pressured, lack trust, are being bullied or just don’t see eye to eye with their doctor to “just do it anyway.” This is how I felt where we lived before, and it was just a headache for us, so we just stopped going completely. However, I am not going to tell you not to go, or to go. I feel you need to make the call yourself based on your families needs. I have natural Mom friends who have been to every single well visit even though they don’t vaccinate, because they love their doctor so much. I have others on the other hand, who have not gone to a single one! Some parents like to see the their babies, weight, charts and get their little foot prints. Some don’t care, like me, I have a scale at home and I could really care less if my baby is on the “standard chart.” I don’t need an update on this every 3 months! I believe there can be a happy medium if you wish.

Bottom line, if you can not find someone that actually helps you, or is always disrespecting your lifestyle, no I do not feel well-child visits are worth it to you. Why give your money and pay someone whom you are always fighting with, or who is always questioning your medical decisions you make for you own family? So, in that sense, it’s not worth it at all! However, when you rejected all child well visits, I believe you can miss out on the ability to build a relationship between your pediatrician that could be beneficial in the time of crisis. Although majority of the time, we as a family do not need medical doctors services or advice, there can be benefits to having this kind of a relationship when it really counts, and if you can find a doctor that suits you.

 For our family, we do NOT use medical doctors for a do-all, say-all, be-all and end-all source of information for our families health and wellness needs. My husband is a healthcare professional with being a Chiropractor. Our children’s primary care provider is a Chiropractor not a medical doctor. My hubby is trained to do all the stuff a medical doctor does. He has an ophthalmoscope, stethoscope, otto-scope and other gadgets to help check our children, especially when they are not feeling well (which is not often). He can do all the things that a medical doctor can do (plus more). Our kids are adjusted regularly to maintain optimal health either at home on in-office. Our home remedies that we do have never failed us. I realize not everyone has this luxury, so again, you really need to take all these thing into consideration and evaluate the pros an cons. There are always pediatric alternative doctors, chiropractors, or naturopaths, ect.

We also do not take them in for “sick-visits” to the medical doctor unless is completely necessary, and it usually is our last resort. My older 2 have had ZERO since I can remember, and my youngest has had one which I told you about above. We have been pharmacy and drug FREE for a very long time, and our hope is to keep it this way. Have we been to the emergency room though? YES! I have 3 curious, crazy and imaginative boys – so we have made our fair share of trips there. I do believe we have the best emergency crisis care (for now), and medical doctors are for a reason, but as far as using them for wellness/preventative care though, no.

What our Family does: 

We go 1-2 times in the first year.

*2 weeks

*10 weeks

(if I feel I need to skip this one I do, some natural moms skip this because they don’t want to expose their child to a sick environment)

And then annually after that.

If we felt we needed a 6 month visit, I would, but not usually.

So this means, technically, WE DO NOT DO WELL-CHILD VISITS. 

Basically we go once a year, in the fact that if anything were to happen (bad illness, accident, emergencies), I would want someone on my side that new my families health history, that respected and knew my family philosophy on health, and just to have someone there that I knew and trusted. I think it’s good to have some sort of health record annually. I feel with the way our medical freedoms are being tugged at, that it’s a good idea to have documented proof that your children are healthy. For us, we are also discussing on whether we should get blood work every couple years. I feel right now it’s a good option. For our kids, if they need a finger stick for blood sugar, sure I’ll do it if necessary – but we usually just stick with the basic annually physical exam.

We also do this for cost wise too. We don’t have traditional insurance. We do medical sharing (this is a whole separate post that I’ll address later!) which we really only have it for crisis care, not wellness care. So every time we go to the doctor unless it’s a huge expense/catastrophic event, we pay out of pocket for well-visits. You know that saying, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” I feel the same way about well-child visits. Why should I go so much, when my child is healthy? Why do I need to expose them to more germs at the doctors office? Why do I need to pay someone to just tell me my child is healthy? I feel the method we have in place right now works well for us. I trust my instincts, and if I ever feel that I really needed to do a visit, I would.

So, do I have an ultimate answer for you? No. This entirely depends on your family. I know it’s a question that comes up a lot amongst the natural moms out there. I hope this sheds a little light on subject. Hopefully helped with questions you might have before making this decision.