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The Perfect Pediatrician: Does She Exist?

Once upon a time, I loved my pediatrician. Her name is Carol, and she works in an office with another doctor named Carol, and their weekend on-call nurse is also named Carol. The Carols. It’s like magic, I tell you. You find a trio of Carols and you stick with them, don’t you though?

She was really pushy about Vitamin D supplements, which I thought was interesting, but I went along with it–October baby and all–but otherwise I felt like we were a good match. Then her practice moved south by 10 blocks and east by two avenues and I was a little inconvenienced, but willing to trudge the extra bit so she could see Huck for his well visits.

Recently I found out a friend of mine who used to see the Carols had just left the practice. One of the Carols had failed to diagnose her child’s allergies. Not knowing the ins and outs of diagnosing allergies I chose to remain impartial, though in the process my friend convinced another of my friends to make the switch, too.

The story really gets going though last week at Huck’s six-month well visit.

The scene: Thursday morning, new office location, horribly cramped exam room with a terribly managed thermostat. Our heros: One sweaty mama, one disastrously cute baby.

First Carol asked me how Huck was sleeping.

“Oh, not as well as I’d like,” because since Huck’s weird sleep regression at four months, when he went from getting up once to suddenly getting up three times at night, he’s never fully recovered. “Also, he’s sleeping in a car seat still,”  admit,  because even though I have plans to rip off the bandaid and transfer him to his crib, it turns out sleeping is the one area of babyhood that terrifies me. I can not find my confidence in managing baby sleep schedules and I have this theory that babies can smell fear . . .

“He absolutely cannot sleep in a car seat. And you have to sleep train him now. I recommend extinction, and you have to be firm. Pick him up even once, and you’ve blown it.”

Other super rad things she said to me at this appointment:

“You have to stop swaddling him. He’s too big to be swaddled.”

“Have you started solids yet? He needs to start now, or else he’ll have a difficult time eating later in life. Also, he’ll have a harder time learning to talk.”

“He’s not getting any iron from you, so he needs iron. I recommend dark meat, or you can try cooked egg yolks mixed with your breast milk.”

This all seemed flat stupid to me. I don’t have a medical degree or anything, but what am I going to do, hand my six-month-old a chicken leg to gnaw on? Breast milk and egg yolks? Is that not the most disgusting thing you’ve ever heard of?

“So, we’re agreed on the solids?” she asked me.

“Sure.” I said, because “You’re nuts” seemed rude.

So. Am I getting a new pediatrician or what? Have you heard any of these opinions of hers before and care to illuminate me on what the heck the deal is? Am I being irrational? Side note: this other practice all my friends defected to is open weekends. So . . . I mean, right?

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