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Children's Health

Trust mother's intuition when advocating for your child

When it comes to advocating for a child, I am a firm believer in the power of mother’s intuition.  Who could know better than mom (or dad) if a child is healthy or if something is not quite right?  So my first advice for parents is to trust your own feelings.  If you think something is going on with your child, it probably is.  Believe in yourself, and don’t give up looking for the answer.  

In my experience, advocating for a child takes even more advanced planning than advocating for yourself.  You need access to accurate information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  So it’s important to figure out what your resources are before you need them.  Websites like EmpowHER.com can provide quick access to medical information any time of the day or night.  But you may also need information when you don’t have access to a computer.  So make sure you have a good book like Dr. Spock’s classic Baby and Child Care.

Also, make sure you have quick access to all the emergency resources you might need.  Make a list of important contacts including your pediatrician’s office, poison control and emergency numbers for the police and fire departments.  Also note the numbers of people you might call for emergency help or advice such as your child’s grandparents or your trusted friends.  Don’t rely on the contact list in your phone.  You don’t want to be caught without critical numbers if the power goes out or your phone battery is dead.

As parents, we always hope our children will stay healthy. But if your child does become sick, make note of when the symptoms started and think back to what might have triggered them. Also make note of any changes in routine, environment or food.  You never know what might be the cause or the cure of your child’s illness.  Here’s a great example.

I once met a mom and dad who told me how their child was diagnosed with lactose intolerance.  Every night the baby spent hours screaming in pain and the doctors couldn’t figure out why.  Then suddenly, they had a night with no crying.  The mother was breastfeeding, so the baby had the same food as usual.  But when the mom and dad thought back to what they’d eaten, they realized they had run out of milk that day so the mother didn’t have her usual glass of milk at dinner.  The change in the mom’s diet helped them solve the mystery of why their baby cried every night.  And once their doctor knew one child was lactose intolerant, the other children were tested, and another was found to have a less severe lactose intolerance.  

For that family, it all came down to being observant. The parents took ownership of the situation and backtracked to figure out what was different.  Without active input from the parents to recognize what had changed, their pediatrician wouldn’t have had a chance at figuring out why the child didn’t cry that one night.

When it comes to advocating for children, it’s important to be as proactive as you can.  Don’t wait for something to go wrong.  Take steps to head off potential problems before they occur.  If your doctor prescribes medication for your child, don’t just get it filled and hope for the best.  Ask about alternative treatments and find out what all your options are.  If you decide the medication is the best choice for your child, ask questions about possible side effects you might see and what results you should expect.  You need to know how quickly the medication is supposed to work and when you should see improvement.  That way you’ll know what to watch for and when to go back to the doctor if you don’t see improvement by the time the medication is supposed to start working.

Your child depends on you to speak for him or her and to provide the best possible care.  You don’t need to be afraid to ask questions or speak up for your child, but if you are intimidated by the process, ask a friend or relative to help you.   As a parent, your intuition and personal knowledge of your child are the key factors that make you the best possible advocate for your child’s health.

Michelle King Robson (pronounced robe-son) is one of the nation's leading women's health and wellness advocates. She is the Founder, Chairperson and CEO of EmpowHER, one of the fastest-growing and largest social health companies dedicated exclusively to women's health and wellness.  In 2011 EmpowHER reached more than 60 million women onsite and through syndication expects to reach more than 250 million in 2012.

Michelle King Robson (pronounced robe-son) is one of the nation's leading women's health and wellness advocates. She is the Founder, Chairperson and CEO of EmpowHER, one of the fastest-growing and largest social health companies dedicated exclusively to women's health and wellness.  In 2011 EmpowHER reached more than 60 million women onsite and through syndication expects to reach more than 250 million in 2012.