Q&A: How do I find a pediatrician who won't try to make me vaccinate my child?
After much research and consideration, my partner and I have decided not to vaccinate our baby. Can you please tell me how I can find a pediatrician who would see my child—and not try to convince me to vaccinate?
There are many decisions when it comes to the health and well being of your baby. Having a healthcare provider who is in sync with your decisions and philosophies goes a long way to making you feel supported. Your pediatrician’s job is to listen to your concerns and thoughts and then to give you feedback and information.
The Integrative Pediatrics Council, a nonprofit group dedicated to transforming children’s healthcare, is composed of highly respected doctors from around the country, many of whom work with families who have decided against vaccinating their children. Using a whole-child approach to health, members of the Integrative Pediatrics Council practice “integrative medicine.” In their own words:
Integrative Medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
The doctors on this council are open to discussing options and concerns. Dr. Lori Storch-Smith, a Westport, Connecticut-based member of this council, hopes to see more pediatricians join this trend in integrative pediatrics. “Parents are looking for ways to optimize the health and wellness of their children, and as pediatricians we must be open to encouraging open communication and promoting holistic care,” she says.
The Integrative Pediatrics Council website includes a directory of member doctors. But if there is not a doctor in your area listed, you may have to research local physicians by making appointments and interviewing them. Because of increasing concerns from parents about vaccinating their children, the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is offering education to pediatricians on how to talk to parents who have concerns about vaccination. They encourage offering options to space out the shots and listening to concerns.
Keep in mind, though, that the AAP is pretty strong on its stance to encourage vaccines (
read its official position here). I am sure that your decision not to vaccinate has involved both intellectual thought and emotions about how this decision might impact your baby.
For more information on the role of individual vaccines and how you might broach the subject with your pediatrician, check out
The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. William Sears.