How to choose a paediatrician? – Part 1


By Chan Lilian

Looi is devastated and shocked that her 2 yrs old son is diagnosed with some developmental delay problem recently. As a mother, she suspected something is amiss with her child’s behaviour. So she decided to seek the opinion of a child psychiatrist in a private hospital, and consulted a neurologist in a large Government teaching hospital for a second opinion. When I asked if her child has been under the care of a regular paediatrician since birth whom would have noticed the problems, she lamented, “My paediatrician …mmm…we just visit him for the normal cold and cough and jab sessions. No monitoring of my child’s progress at all, no questions asked, in fact we are the one who are asking the questions…unlike what is mentioned in the books where the doctors actually monitor the progress of the child. I feel cheated!”

Looi is not the first parent I met who is upset with her child regular caregiver. A relative of mine also encountered a situation where her grandson was given treatment, which is less than satisfactory from a large private clinic. The child has shown obvious signs of some developmental problems but surprisingly, the medical professionals did not detect his condition until much later. Recently, I was also told of a baby who was born blind but his regular medical caregiver failed to noticed until his parents brought him to another paediatrician who discovered it.

Apart from these rather serious conditions, there are also gripes from other mothers whose children have the common childhood illnesses. Some of the usual statements are “In the past 6 days, we have been to 4 paediatricians. Yet, my girl is not getting any better.” or “I took my child to a few doctors and they tell me different things.”

All the above gripes about their respective doctors made me wonder – Is there a communication breakdown between these parents and their medical caregivers? Most of the mothers that I mentioned are highly educated and can afford specialists care in private hospitals. They would have equipped themselves with a certain amount of knowledge related to baby/childcare and their health through reading extensively from books, magazines, literatures and the internet. Therefore, they may be able to make some informed decision. Then why are they left with the feeling that they are not getting the kind of medical attention they expected?

What then can a mother do to make sure that she gets the optimum medical attention from her child’s doctor? A mother spends all the time with her child whilst the paediatrician spends only minutes. Looking at this situation, how the doctor diagnoses a condition will then greatly rely on the mother’s observation and explanation. I have 14 years experiences of taking care of my five sons, including one who was an oxygen-dependant baby and another who is asthmatic. Through my consultation with the numerous medical professionals in the last 14 years, I have learnt various tactics and techniques to ensure that I receive the kind of service I expected.

Safety alert – No to the sarung buaian/cradle Pt 2

Aiyah… please don’t wait for my scary stories lar. ‘Cos I heard them from others only so cannot repeat ‘cos not very professional lar. But I know Maria told me that she read in the paper about a baby who fell off the sarung buaian and died. And yeah, I know a few babies who had bad knocks on the head and only develop problems later on.

My newphews and nieces used to sleep in the sarung buaian too. A few of the dangers I can see are:
1. You need a safefy pin to secure the top and bottom (if using kain sarung). That safety pin can bend too much due to pressure and it can opened up. I do not know how the new sarung buaian is like lar.

2. A baby can turn in the sarung buaian, put his head out and may choke/strangle if no one notice.

3. Some medical professionals had told me that in the district hospitals (usually the rural areas), a lot of children had bad knocks on the head because the string used to tie the sarung broke.

4. If you have older toddlers, they may take that as a toy and shake the sarung too hard causing injury to newborn’s brain. It is very dangerous to shake a baby too hard, as you all know.

The nurse in UMMC told me most of the house accident happen to kids/babies–1st killer, walker. 2nd killer, sarong cradle.
I told my MIL and my mom about this before, I still ended up have two sarong cradle in my house, so much thanks to two of them, but the girls never like it, so now it still nicely pack in plastic bag place in the store room, dare not to give people. Confucian said–don’t give people something we don’t want/know it is danger.
the recent news I read from the paper was the baby died after being strangle by the string.
when baby bump their head sometime have no immediate sign of hurt, may be later only found there are something wrong about the baby, but will never associate the matter with the sarong cradle, so the parents also blur blur wandering lor.
My niece felt from the sarong before, she was about a year old then, my late FIL felt in sleep half way rocking her, and she woke up rolling inside then “flop!”, there she is–on the floor crying, luckily nothing happen to her. later still put her in the sarong, but add a lot pillow underneath, some people just never learn. and she even open the safety pin play with it, put it in her mouth , FIL dare ot to tell her parents (his son), came back told my MIL.
and do you all know that some baby very clever can swing the sarong cradle by themself? I friend once told me how clever her 15 months old son was, rock the cradle himself, then I told her what happen he climb out by himself? she keeps away the sarong cradle immediately.
Maria Ho Twins Isabelle & Annabelle born 25-11-2002.
Hemm..i’m glad that my baby does not need any buaian or sarong cradle to be put to sleep. Just put him anywhere & if he sleepy, he just dozed off. The best place he loves to sleep soundly is our car. The point is never, ever introduce one’s baby with sarong cradle / buaian even yor baby cries a lot, sleepless, fussy so much. Hey, my baby during confinement period, kuat betul menangis especially wee hours. MIL suka2 put my baby in the buaian, & I tell her straight away, I wish not to use one at all (jahatnya I). Even, sometimes when she babysit my baby, she would just LOOOveeee to attempt that. I will tell her nicely that buaian is unavailable at the nursery & I don’t wish to purchase one (just some lame excuse).

Why? I will never forget how hassle it was my elder siblings has to carry practically everywhere the buaian. I also ‘heard’ stories about the danger using one.

Proud to say, in my family, I’m the only (especially being the youngest sibling) who banned sarong cradle/buaian .

Safety alert – No to the sarung buaian/cradle


I attended a CPR for infant course conducted by paed who is a certified instructor from the American Academy of Paeds and had been grilled on home accident prevention. Even high chair is not recommended. Or the sarung buaian.

I am not over paranoid but I had been in hospitals long enough to see what kind of horrific accidents can happened even under the closest scrutiny.

So, my vote is NO to sarung buaian.
I would not feel safe to put my baby in a sarong craddle, so many instances of cradle accidents we read in the newspapers. Secondly, you need to bring the motorised sarong cradle every where you go, even on holiday since your baby is so used to rocking before he can sleep.

just my 2 sen.
Geok Hong
I totally agree with the rest abou the sarong mishaps. I really hate (sorry!) the idea of a sarong though many at times tempted (yes…..contradicting myself too!) But I agree with Lilian that it is very dangerous plus to add my 2 cents worth , your little BB can’t see much from the sarong too! Unless you plan to use it only to make her sleep and later transfer her out to the cot/bed……but again….. old habits die hard.

I used sarong craddle for my first son. It was 5 years back. No doubt it made my life easier coz it doesn’t take so much time to put baby to sleep. But the disadvantage was we have to bring the sarong craddle stuff everywhre we go and it occupied a lot of space in the car bonnet. That time I was not aware how dangerous the sarong craddle coz it was the old folks (my parents & supported by parents in law) idea to use the sarong craddle for the baby. And being a naive mother, just follow ler..

Now I know that sarong craddle should be avoided. My friends told me some of scaries stories about baby fell out of it etc..etc..(Lilian…can’t wait to hear your stories) so my next mission for the second baby… use baby cot. Eventhough I’m not sure how I’m suppose to do that coz it is just so commom in Malay culture (esp my parents and inlaws) are considered ‘tradisional’ type of Malay people.

Aiya… have another 3 months to think before the baby is out…
Ibu to Wafi