We didn’t follow a very scientific procedure when it came to choosing a pediatrician. I asked friends for some recommendations, chose one who was very close to our house and went to meet with him. We knew within 30 seconds of shaking his hand that he would be perfect for us.
So, maybe it was a bit more complicated than that.
We had identified a few things that were really important to us, like the fact that our doctor would be in favor of vaccinations (and perhaps even require them of patients). We wanted a practice that had a 24-hour nurse line so that we could call at 3:00 a.m. when our baby had a fever (which, knock on wood, hasn’t happened yet). My husband and I were both very small babies, so it isn’t surprising that our daughter barely hits the lowest line of the growth charts. Because of that, we also wanted someone who would be supportive of breastfeeding and not quick to suggest formula if our daughter was tiny.
There are some wonderful, and unexpected, things we love about our pediatrician, as well. He’s our age, which is pretty young for a doctor. He has two young children of his own, and because he is knee-deep in parenting himself, his empathy feels very real. It can be easy to dismiss concerns when you haven’t had young children for 20 years and you know that in the grand scheme of things, the concerns of new parents are so tiny and unimportant. But when your baby wakes up for the fifth time in one night that concern feels very big and very important. We really like that he “gets it,” and is dealing with this right alongside us.
We also love the balance he brings to our concerns. He takes them very seriously, but is also very calm and level-headed. Our daughter is a “scooter,” meaning she’s developed this strange way of getting around where she sits on her bottom and scoots herself around. It’s efficient and works for her—and it’s both adorable and hilarious—but we were questioning whether she would miss mastering any important milestones because of her unique way to move. Our doctor explained what things she needed to hit, checked the muscle tone in her legs and back to make sure they were developing appropriately and then reassured us that her funny way of getting around is just fine. He could have dismissed our concerns out of hand without checking. He could have immediately referred us for physical therapy. His approach reassures us that he would catch anything important, while also reminding us that kids develop differently and that our daughter is just fine.
Throw in the fact that he explained to us that one-year-olds learn through play and how important it is for us to read to her every day, and I think we’ve hit it out of the park.