Monthly Archives: July 2017

Choosing the Right Pediatrician: 29 Questions to Ask

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Finding the RIGHT pediatrician is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make.  They will become your partner in raising a healthy child – managing your worries and concerns, offering meaningful advice and if you’re truly lucky, you will look at them as an extension of your family.

Roll back almost 5 years, I was about to give birth to my first. I asked a local parent-friend and she recommended a pediatrician in Park Slope who she was satisfied with. I was working FT, didn’t have the time to research, and did not necessarily understand the significance of the decision that I was (frivolously) making. I ended up giving birth to my daughter at Methodist Hospital, and immediately connected to the pediatrician on staff. He held my little girl like she was his own, with an aura of such warmth and compassion that could not be compared.  It was instant, I knew he had to be our doctor! That is how we met Dr. Cao and the amazing staff at SSP.

I was very, very lucky that he was the pediatrician on staff that day and I was able to make the right decision after almost making a very hasty one.  For those of us who understand the importance of finding the right pediatrician and actually doing the research, we’ve put together a list of questions that you should consider asking both the doctor and yourself:

 

Logistics:

– What happens during a well visit?

– How do I bring my sick child to the doctor? Do I need an appointment or can I just walk in?

– What is the average wait time?

– How many doctors are in the practice?

– Will I see the same doctor or do I see whoever is available?

What are the business hours?

– How does the office handle emergencies during business hours and after business hours?

– Is the practice conveniently located, easy to get to?

 

Medical:

– Try to find out the doctor’s approach to practicing medicine. Is it evidence based? For example, you can ask questions about use of antibiotics.

– Ask if the doctors are members of the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). This is also a good indication of their practice philosophy.

– Ask about their sleep training philosophy

– Ask about immunization policies

– Ask to meet the nurses who will care for your baby before and after the visit with the doctor

– Ask what tests (if any) are done at the office

– If you’re expecting, ask about what vaccines the adults who will care for your baby should receive.

Does the pediatrician or pediatricians have any specialty or focus (important to ask if your kid has any type of special needs)?

 

Insurance:

– Make sure the doctor you choose as your Primary Care Physician is in network with your plan. Call your insurance to get an updated status of the doctor’s participation.

– Does your partner have different insurance than you? Ask to talk to a billing specialist for advice.

– Ask what to expect in terms of copays, coinsurance and deductible (please, send the office your insurance information ahead of time)

– Ask what happens to the claims for the first visits while the baby is still not officially under the policy.

– Ask how you will be billed for your responsibilities and how you can pay.

 

A Good Fit (talk about Culture):

It’s important to find out if the practice you are visiting and the doctor you are meeting are a good fit for your family. One way to understand this is to evaluate their company culture.

– Was everyone nice, humble, helpful, attentive, detailed oriented?

– Did you feel ‘at home’ while experiencing the practice?

– Did you leave the meet and greet feeling excited?  

– Did you feel like you “connected” with the staff?

– Have you noticed how the front desk team talks to patients?

– Test them on every channel: call the office and pay attention to how they speak. Email them and see how fast they reply. Reach out on social media and check if they respond and how (Please, remember that as per HIPAA medical information can’t be discussed on social media)

– Ask if the practice has established Core Values (most people will probably stare blankly for a few seconds). Establishing core values is the first step for a business to create and promote a company culture that turns a ‘cold business machine’ into a more human-like team that has your interest and happiness in sight at all times.

How is the practice involved in their community? How do they give back?

 

To summarize, please don’t make the same mistake I almost did…do your research.  Try to find other neighbors and friends who are patients of the practice you are interested in.  See what they have to say. Ask all of the questions in the world – after all, you are trusting this person with your child’s health.  What could be more important than that? 🙂

10 Dinner Ideas for Your Family to Enjoy Together

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Coming clean here: I often dread dinner time. After a full day, who on earth wants to make two separate dinners – one for the kids and one for the adults?! Not me. Although sometimes I do succumb to this I try my hardest not to make those frozen chicken nuggets the norm. After all, I want my children’s taste buds to be as all-inclusive as possible (ha ha, much easier said than done)! My kids eat super early so it’s often the night before’s dinner leftovers for them, and a new dinner for my husband and me.

Here are 10 healthy, easy and generally crowd-pleaser dinner ideas that your entire family will (hopefully) enjoy. They are tasty, fun, colorful and balanced.

 

* Make Your Own Taco – Let your child help make his/her taco. This is FUN!!! Lettuce, avocado…greek yogurt to dip.   Substitute beef with bison for a healthier option. These shrimp tacos are a favorite in my house!

 

* Crispy Chicken and Homemade Fries – SO much healthier than the frozen chicken nuggets and store bought fries (packed with added sugar, fats, sodium). To make the adults version a little more “mature”, how about a chipotle dip?

 

* Mac n’ Cheese – Adults love a good mac n’ cheese just as much as the littles do.  Want to kick the healthy factor up a notch? Substitute regular pasta with a whole wheat, brown rice or bean based pasta.

 

* Moroccan Chicken – Fast and tasty, this recipe includes peaches and orange juice to add flavor and please those sugar-craving taste buds.

 

* Orecchiette with Broccoli and Walnuts – Fresh pasta with protein and fiber filled walnuts and vitamin-rich broccoli. Simple, colorful and yummy.

 

* Almond Fish Sticks – OK, yum…cod covered in crunchy almonds and flakes. Want to add a little “adult” into this recipe? Make a side dipping sriracha or tartar sauce.

 

* Black Bean Quesadillas – This is my go-to when I need something super-quick, that I enjoy as well.  SUPER simple and healthy. Add a fried egg if you want!  On the “adult” quesadilla, consider adding onions, spices and jalapeños!

 

* Swordfish Piccata – My daughter, like many other 4 year olds I know, will not eat fish (other than shrimp)…HOWEVER, there is something about swordfish that excludes it from the “I hate fish” rule. Maybe it’s the more dense consistency, almost like chicken – not sure. Personally, I don’t include capers on hers, and I’m generally not a fan of thyme either.

 

* Hamburger Buddy Pasta – This recipe helps you hide a few vegetables, like mushrooms and carrots. Try substituting with bison for a healthier version. Add spices to the adult portion as many will find it on the blander side without.

 

* Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce – Kids cannot get enough pasta. Let’s at least try to make it a little healthier for them by making a homemade tomato sauce! Here is basic recipe, for you to tweak as you wish!

 

One piece of advice to new mommies – don’t succumb to “kids food” 24/7. They will be dictating their menu to you, and will refuse to open up to new (healthier) ideas.  Listen, getting a toddler to eat a new food or fish for example (god forbid), can feel excruciatingly impossible. We’re not going to win every food war. My thought is this: have them at least TRY something, even just a few bites. They might actually like something they thought they detested. There’s an old Sesame Street episode about this, where Elmo has to try a kiwi, which he didn’t think he liked…and he enjoys it! Try watching this with them. Note: it can take ten tries before your taste buds decide if they like a food or not.   And…often if my child is not crazy about the dinner option for the evening, I explain there are no other options, so she needs to eat whatever it is if she doesn’t want to go to bed starving. And of course definitely no after dinner sweet if she doesn’t eat it.  Having the energy to take this on every night is difficult, but we can try to introduce new healthy foods once or twice a week and see what sticks! Don’t give up!