Doctor Parent often knows best
Medical professionals are important, but so is a parent’s intuition.
In the golden Age of Google, as parents we're able to get information on any ailment, situation, problem or milestone we might experience with our children at the click of a search button. We've become accustomed to dragging our small people off to the doctor (paediatrician, usually) at the slightest sniffle.

We look for answers and advice from other people, instead of listening and paying attention to that Authority best experienced and usually best placed to be making decisions about our children: ourselves. That gut feeling. Yes, Mama really does know best. (And in all fairness and honesty, most papas these days are capable of exactly the same.)

My fiancé (and the father of my four year old boymischief) is oft times much better at the mothering-instinct thing than I am. He is so in tune with our son that he can usually predict days before a bout of illness, that something's coming. I'm usually the one insisting that The Kid is fine and that he must be faking it and if he's not faking it, it will blow over in a day or two with some TLC and some Nurofen kids syrup.

Is it just teething?

But sometimes it doesn't.  Teething, usually a milestone parents of new(ish) babies look forward to, is also somewhat of a nuisance and involves a number of sleepless nights and heart-wrenching crying. As our son’s sole daytime care-giver during the day at that point in his life (5ish months) I started to learn the signs of teething; such joys as runny-ish nappies, a slightly-raised temperature and something more than just permanent fist-in-mouth-drool-as-much-as-possible syndrome. Ear infections.

The antibiotic dilemma

Usually accompanied by a slight cough and a runny nose – which was enough for there to be an insistence that we march off to the doctor (GP) who did what all doctors seem to do and prescribed an antibiotic. Long story short – antibiotic would finish, tooth would emerge, snot nose would dry up. Repeat. A few times.

A few visits later and the GP recommended grommets and I refused. I insisted on a second opinion (paeditrician) that also recommended grommets. For ear infections that were admittedly frequent but also temporary.  An ear, nose and throat specialist (my third opinion) also suggested grommets. Again, I refused.  He was about eight months old at the time.

Eight months old. I might not have the mothering instinct thing down as well as his father in some situations but I could as sure as snot be an advocate for my child, and stand up for what I believed was best. All three of these medical professionals told me it was impossible that the ear infections were related to the teething, that it was simply co-incidental.

Only, they weren’t around for those long nights (where I had to sleep sitting upright with a 12kg baby rest his chin on my shoulder because he couldn’t bear to have any weight on his ear while he slept) only to discover in the morning a white bump through the surface of his gum. They weren’t there, yet they wanted to tell me that they knew what was best for my child, and that what was best for my child was to take him away – somewhere I couldn’t follow – and put him under anaesthetic and cut into my baby with a scalpel.

So I refused and argued so strongly against it that eventually my fiancé relented.  I called Mother Knows Best Rights. Until the next bout of teething and the tag-along ear infection. But It didn’t last forever.

His last and final ear infection? Co-incided with his last and final molar. Fancy that.

The long and short of my lesson is this: seek advice and opinions from others, but know your child well enough to know what’s best for him. Pay close enough attention that you know you’re making the right decision, and not simply letting someone else make an educated guess.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Would you trust your own judgment over that of your child’s doctor?

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?




Play creatively

Don’t let your little one’s frustration with wanting to ‘get things just right’ stop them from playing creatively.

See more >


Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.