What I'm Not Telling My Pediatrician...

I lie to my kids’ doctor. (I also lie to their dentist but that is for another story.)

When you take your child to the doctor for a Well Child Exam, it's a time that many parents face with a bit of pride and a bit of dread. Maybe your kid is at the top of the growth chart and that makes your chest swell just a bit. Maybe your three year old can scrawl their name on the exam table paper when the doctor is doing the exam ('Go ahead honey, show the doctor what you can do!!!'). It's a line of tricks we as parents do when we take our brilliant child anywhere out into the world. We want everyone to know what good parents we are. The bragging extends even beyond the tricks:

Don't tell the doctor...

Don't tell the doctor...

Doc: So, how much screen time is Eli getting?
Me: Ohhhhh, not much. Maybe two hours twenty minutes a day.
Doc: Oh wow! Great! (I pat myself on the back). How about diet?
Me: Excellent. He can't get enough broccoli drenched in stir fry sauce.
Doc: How is his sugar intake?
Me: Well, we shoot for no more than 10 grams per hour day.
Doc: Perfect! It sounds like you are doing great!

And the half truths go on and on. Your doctor is asking you these things because she was trained that all of these factors go into creating a healthy child. And it's all true. And we lie not just to seem like ideal parents, but also because we can’t take one more thing. Because, in the world outside that perfect, sterilized bubble, we love our kids and we want what is best for them, but we are also exhausted. When we are exhausted, we take the only road we can manage - the easiest one we can find. Chicken nuggets and microwave edamame for dinner? Yup. Dora with dinner? Ok, just this once. A piece of gum to get you to stop your screaming fit in the middle of the store even though I’ve sworn you will never have another piece again after I’ve found it in the carpet for the 10th time? Heck yes.

And here is the biggest lie we usually tell our pediatrician- “No way. I never sleep with my baby”.

Look! Sometimes we do pediatrician-approved activities!

Look! Sometimes we do pediatrician-approved activities!

The problem is that many doctors are going through a check list of eleven million things and ask it in a way that makes it easy to fib- “Do you sleep with your baby?”. And that invites half-truth ‘no’ because the alternative ‘yes’ puts us in the shame category and begs for a lecture. Hear that? Shame.

Here’s the thing- as a parent, I feel enough guilt that I am failing my child. The last thing I want is to have someone tell me to my face that I am putting my baby at risk of death because I fall asleep with him every once in awhile because it’s easy. Induce shame waterfall.

Infant safety experts (like me) know that parents are sleeping with their babies. We know that you do it sometimes a lot and sometimes a little. We know that you know it carries risk of death. We also know that you are lying about it when asked. And, as a mom, I don’t blame you.

What I want you to know is this- I get it. All the folks at Pip & Grow get it. We are not out to shame anyone. We are here to give you an easy road that your doctor will congratulate you for taking.

We are public health experts and are all about risk reduction. Hence, the Smitten Sleep System. Uber portable, lightweight, large enough to accommodate your baby for a minimum of four to six months. Grab that sucker and take it everywhere with you. Its ultra-portable, meaning you are never far from a safe sleep space. It’s as easy as asking your partner to grab you a beer glass of water - ‘Hey babe, can you grab the Smitten?’. See? Simple. Check out how other parents are using their Smittens in the wild. Tell us your story. We promise not to judge you.

Much love.

One of the three loves of my life.

Pip & Grow co-founder, Amber, is an infant safety expert and mom to three spectacular boys. She believes the medical community can do better at helping parents find easy ways to keep their kids safe. She's blogging about how to protect our little loves without losing our minds. 

Amber Kroeker, MPH

Pip & Grow co-founder, Amber, is a leading expert in infant injury prevention and safe sleep. Here, she shares critical information about keeping your little ones safe.