Pediatricians: Old School versus New School

by heirtoblair on September 26, 2012

I was well into the third trimester of pregnancy with Harrison when we picked a pediatrician. For someone who planned every moment of pregnancy from conception to birth, failing to have a laundry list of pediatrician must-haves was quite a shock.

Doug finally called the brother of a good friend, who happened to be a well-respected pediatrician in the Raleigh area. When I asked about him on my local baby board, I was met with about 10 posts of “Oh, you mean Dr. Hottie!” & so the nickname was born & yes, I did tell both he & his wife about the nickname when we were mildly intoxicated at an Avett Brothers concert two years ago. But I digress.

We met with Dr. Hottie prior to me giving birth & I pulled out my dog-eared Dr. Sears book & we discussed vaccines & his theories on kids. It comforted us that he had his own children & we liked him because he was young. He was fresh & had been taught the latest & greatest in school. He knew about delayed vaccinations without passing judgment on “those parents” & accepted readily that I was not interested in nursing. He was the perfect fit for us.

It also helps that we are good friends outside of the doctor’s office, so he is always a phone call or email away. He was the doctor to diagnose Harry’s reflux & speech delay. He saw us through the first cold & all shots & calmed my new momma nerves with his easy, laid-back demeanor. Nothing was too big or too small or too worthy of panic.

When it came to Harrison’s reflux, he diagnosed it & quickly switched him to soy formula & Zantac. He suggested I prop him up after feeding. It was the basic “prescription” for any three-week old that couldn’t stop crying & puking but after a few weeks, it was obvious that it wasn’t enough. So we switched to a higher dose of Zantac & a few weeks later, I juggled my screaming baby in my arms & cried into the phone with the nurse to please, please, please find us an appointment with Dr. Hottie.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. He is simply unavailable. But we can get you in with Dr. Old School,” she explained gently. I worried the entire way to the office, wondering how this new, older pediatrician would be. He was my parent’s age. Would he judge me that I didn’t nurse & tell me that I could have prevented this? Would he look down on me for not knowing how to handle this? Would he suggest that I put whisky in the bottle?

IMG 2955 300x200 Pediatricians: Old School versus New School

But he walked into the room with a warm smile & soft tone. He patiently watched the videos I showed him of Harrison in his painful screams & back arching. Then he checked my boy over with no instruments & said, “Okay, mom. Here’s what we’re going to do – the meds aren’t working & we’re going to need some basics.”

He prescribed a stronger medicine along with a dairy & soy-free formula. Then he explained that while yes, it is suggested that children not receive solids until 4 months at the earliest & six months at best, that Harrison was a “special case” with different needs. I would need to start feeding him a mixture of oatmeal & pureed bananas to help soak up some of that acid & weigh his stomach down. I asked if it would upset his stomach, if it would be too hard on him & he smiled over his glasses & said, “Mom, folks have been feeding their babies solids for years, even earlier than 3 months way back in the day. He’ll be fine.”

I was nervous the first few times I fed Harrison his warm bowl of oats & bananas, but he gobbled them down happily & within days, he was a different baby. His screaming slowed, his raspy voice disappeared, he began smiling. So yes, while it is important to have a pediatrician that is up-to-date with the newest & greatest…sometimes old school works just as well.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy September 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

That was sweet and true!

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Mel September 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm

This is such a great message. As parents, we can get so very attached to one particular doctor and have a hard time hearing from anyone else, but more than one approach can be right.

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Ruthy T. (@DiscoveryStreet) September 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I got some slack from friends for choosing a pediatrician who will likely be retiring soon…but after meeting him, I appreciated his experience and felt he would be the best fit for me and my daughter.

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Surf Momma September 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

We are overly attached to and love our pediatrician too! We also know him outside his office. One of my favorite things about him though is how he talks through things with us because we’ll get all the time we need to talk (also, no one ever waits, ever and often he answers the office phone). So after he explains something he asks, “are YOU okay with this?” I like that he treats the whole family!

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