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Finding a Pediatrician Who Is Open to Veganism
My husband and I have started looking for a pediatrician for our new baby, who's due in eight weeks. He will be our first child and we have a lot of questions for our doctor and we want to feel comfortable being able to ask anything we want. We also want a doctor who understands a vegan diet and won't try to convince us that our child needs to eat meat to get enough protein. The last doctor we went to see was totally closed off and unreceptive to me and made me feel like an idiot for asking questions. She had a "been there, done that" attitude and when we left her office I started crying. How can I find a pediatrician who is open to our lifestyle.
First of all, I'm so sorry that anyone made you feel that way, and especially that a medical doctor did that. I can only think that she felt her authority was being questioned or attacked in some way and that's why she chose to speak to you in that way.
You can never tell why other people act the way they do, and you have to remember that there's always more going on under their facade then they let you know. She might have had a horrible problem in her personal life that day, she might have been spoken down to by an authority figure and so she felt the need to pass along the spirit, another patient might have treated her badly, or maybe she's just not a nice person.
In addition, many doctors aren't incredibly aware of how healthy a vegan diet is because they often are not given more than a few hours of nutrition education in med school, so they tend to follow the status quo with advice on nutrition. Unfortunately, we know that status quo is actually doing more harm with the growing obesity epidemic and enormous rates of degenerative diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancers, many of which can be avoided with a healthy plant-based diet.
So, there's much more going on behind the scenes that causes people to respond negatively to a vegan diet, and especially if you are inclined to very natural, holistic medical treatment as well.
All of this makes finding a pediatrician a difficult task, and it should be. I don't believe in just taking the first person you find with an internet search, and I do believe very strongly that you should feel it's the right fit. You will have a partnership with this doctor for at least 18 years, and you must be able to trust that they have your best interest in mind at all times.
I highly recommend asking around for recommendations of doctors. If you have some friends or family members who follow your lifestyle, that's incredibly ideal. If not, spend some serious time searching on the internet and looking for natural vegan mom groups in your area where you might be able to ask them for advice. You can often also find directories of holistic doctors on the internet or through your health care provider. The larger the city you live in, the easier it will be to eventually find the right person.
If you happen to live in an area that is sparsely populated or just filled with people who typically do not follow a natural, vegan lifestyle, you might have to take a different tactic. In that case, I would bring information for your pediatrician to see that shows why a vegan diet is incredibly healthy for growing children, and come prepared to tell what foods you feed (or plan to feed) your children. You will need to be confident in your decision before you go, and the doctor should respond well to that. You can also let them know that you do very much want to take their advice, but that you hope they will respect your decision to stick to this lifestyle. After all, if you ate this way for religious or ethical beliefs, they cannot discriminate against you.
Do continue going to the initial doctor's visits with your list of questions, and be yourself. If it's the right fit, that doctor will respond well and will make you feel comfortable asking what you need to ask.
I hope this helps you to feel justified in wanting to find a good fit and in continuing to look until you find the right pediatrician who is open to veganism, even if they personally do not follow that diet. Be strong and stand your ground!