Selecting a Pediatrician

Selecting a Pediatrician Denise Bolds, MSW Adv.CD(DONA) April 25, 2021 

A pediatrician is a medical doctor specializing in children and their illness/diseases. The pediatrician is one of the most important components of successful parenting. Newborns, infants, children, adolescents, teens and their parents interact with the pediatrician very closely, who provides, education, advocacy and resources as well as medical knowledge. The pediatrician has a contribution to how parents parent their children and how children grow up embracing the value of their health. Healthy habits are supported by the pediatrician.

New parents may have never encountered a pediatrician as an adult. They either fondly remember their own pediatrician or forgot them. Many parents-to-be get referrals of pediatricians from family and friends. First, make sure the pediatrician is board certified and accepts you/your partner/spouse’s health coverage. Try to have one close to home if possible; you want to be able to get to medical support in a reasonable timeframe.

As new parents, you have the right to interview pediatricians and pediatric practices. Here’s some suggested questions to use when interviewing pediatric provider prospects: 

You want to know about the COVID-19 protocol. 

1. How large is the practice? Do you want the pediatrician to be of the same gender as your newborn? This can be helpful when your newborn becomes an adolescent. 

2. What is the on-call procedure for this practice?

3. Is this pediatric provider immunization friendly? Are they willing to spread out immunizations for your baby? 

4. Is the practice open to working with new parents? You will have questions - many of them. Can this practice work with you both or find your queries bothersome? 

5. What is the waiting room procedure like? Will your newborn be in the same waiting room as a sick child? Can you & your newborn be put directly in an exam room or wait in the lobby/car until it’s your turn and you are called on your call phone to come in? 

6.  Is there a well waiting room and a sick waiting room or just one room for everyone? 

7. Where does the pediatrician have hospital admitting privileges? Is your health insurance accepted there?

8. Is this pediatric practice breastfeeding friendly? Do they have an IBCLC (breastfeeding expert) on staff? 

9. Can they recognize a lip tie or tongue tie? This is helpful if you are having challenges in breastfeeding.

10. Are there any fees for forms or copies from this practice? 

11. Is this pediatric practice diverse? Do they have same-sex, interracial families they support? Is the staff diverse.

12. What are the office hours? Any late night or Saturday appointments?

13. Please know the name, address and phone of your local pharmacy.

Remember! Pediatricians get reviews too! Check them out on line! 

 I remain deeply grateful to Dr. Peter Gergely of Gergely Pediatrics, Garrison NY for over 20 years of excellent care for my son and empowering me as a single parent! 

When it’s Her First - He Already Has Kids. Denise Bolds MSW, CD(DONA)

When It’s Her First  Denise Bolds, MSW CD(DONA)  April 25, 2019

As a birth doula, I encounter many couples where the partner/spouse has children from another relationship. In the current relationship, the mother-to-be is experiencing her first pregnancy and birth. Her experienced partner may not be as engaged; there’s a been-there-done-that attitude (and sometimes that knowing smirk) that can come across in the pregnancy as a lack of participation, indifference and generalization. The experienced father may also compare the mothers, pregnancies and births of his children. Many first time mothers-to-be with partners who are experienced in childbirth/parenting are often indifferent, not as engaged, not listening to the mother-to-be or supporting any of her suggestions.  I am using these adjectives because the mothers-to-be identified these feelings this way. All of my interviews and clients raise this concern is this couple dynamic.

The generalization places stress on the pregnant mother to be as the expectation; the pink elephant in the room grows bigger as the pregnancy progresses… “You’ll be fine, it’s not a big deal.” “I paid for that class before, it wasn’t any thing great.” “I’ve paid for this before, I don’t want to pay for it again.” “You go ahead and do your thing, I’m right here…” “You don’t need that, I didn’t use it with my other kids…” “Why do you want this? I didn’t use it with my other kids.” “I’m busy working, you take care of it.”

Here’s How To Help: Do Not Compare Or Generalize.

Experienced fathers supporting the first time mother can embrace these helpful suggestions; make time for her, go with her to classes and mother/baby/parent expos, sit and listen to her, ask her how she was raised by her parents, ask her how she wants to give birth. If she is expressing any apprehension, offer the suggestion of hiring a birth doula to support you both during the birth. Offer her the resources of childbirth education, acupuncture, prenatal yoga and massage. Most importantly remember not to compare your current spouse/partner and upcoming birth with your former spouse/partner’s pregnancy/birth. Do not assume all pregnancies/births are alike because they are not.

Dad, you could be the champion: suggest touring the hospital where you are going to have your baby; explore classes and resources in your community. Suggest hiring a  birth doula; the doula can provide support for the both of you as well as offer you a refresher on how your support can and will be the perfect fit.

When it is His First.

The same suggestions above apply for the first time father and the seasoned mother: communication, education, support, time, resources, and of course a birth doula to provide support and advocacy to the couple.  Experienced mother, make sure the first time Dad has access to education and get a birth doula to support him during the pregnancy, at the birth and be an extending resource after the birth!

Keep in mind, there’s a possibility Dad-to-be may suppress his feelings, and thoughts which isn’t supportive to him as a parent. Society demands fathers act a certain way that may promote more trauma than support.  Dads need resources, support, communication and saved space just as much as the mother does. 

Baby ‘Baby Nurse’ or Post Partum Doula?

‘Baby Nurse’ or Post Partum Doula

By Denise Bolds MSW CD(DONA)

December 29, 2018

As a birth doula of over 4 years, I have encountered many clients announce with pride: “I have hired a baby nurse to help me once the baby is here!” In my mind I am thinking my client must have been told at a prenatal visit that her unborn baby will be born with huge clinical needs that must be supported by a ‘baby nurse.’ I asked my client who laughed and said: “Oh no! My friend had one and recommended the service to me.”

This new Mom like so many others hear the term ‘Baby nurse’ and they all want one. They have no idea what a ‘baby nurse’ is. Here’s the scoop!

There are circumstances where a baby is born with intense medical conditions that require clinical support in the home such as special medications, oxygen, blood monitoring and recovering from surgeries. This is where a clinical, registered nurse who specializes in neonatal (newborn) care is a Baby Nurse.

The ‘baby nurse’ that many new parents hire are predominately women from the Caribbean who are skilled in caring for a new born. These ‘baby nurses’ are not of a clinical background, many are without any CPR training. ‘Baby nurses’ come from agencies that charge a bundle and they do not support the Mom, Dad or the home for that matter - just the baby. There is an alternative.

A post-partum doula is certified and is trained in supporting the family. They are CPR trained and will support the home with light meal prep, light house cleaning, breast-feeding support, belly binding, infant massage and more. The post-partum doula is also more affordable and flexible in hours. Why hire support that is only for the baby when a post-partum doula supports the baby and the family.

Remember, there are birth doulas and there are post-partum doulas. The birth doula supports prenatally and the labor/birth. The post-partum doula supports the newborn and the family with a variety of supports that include breastfeeding, belly binding, meal prep, house cleaning, overnight support and more. Both birth doulas and post partum doulas support breastfeeding! Many birth doulas provide placenta encapsulation services.

Do  not be misled by the term ‘baby nurse.’ You are paying more for less support. Ask your birth doula if she/he/they can recommend any post-partum doulas. Bold Doula sure can!