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The Pediatrician Search

Success! I found our pediatrician!

I'd set up appointments to meet with a few doctors in Hoboken because I'd really rather not have to commute into Manhattan for my baby's doctor visits. I've heard (and I can imagine) that it's a big pain in the neck to go into the city on the train with a newborn for the many upcoming doctor visits, so I wanted to avoid that schlep if I could. But I wasn't sure I was going to find a pediatrician I liked in this area because traditionally, there haven't been that many pediatric practices in Hoboken. Luckily, more have opened up here in recent years, so I was hopeful I might find one I liked.

Success! I found our pediatrician!

I'd set up appointments to meet with a few doctors in Hoboken because I'd really rather not have to commute into Manhattan for my baby's doctor visits. I've heard (and I can imagine) that it's a big pain in the neck to go into the city on the train with a newborn for the many upcoming doctor visits, so I wanted to avoid that schlep if I could. But I wasn't sure I was going to find a pediatrician I liked in this area because traditionally, there haven't been that many pediatric practices in Hoboken. Luckily, more have opened up here in recent years, so I was hopeful I might find one I liked.

The first doctor I met, though, did not inspire confidence, to say the least. His practice -- to its credit -- offered a sort of "meet and greet" for expecting parents, and even though I'd heard mixed reviews about these doctors, I went with an open mind. Unfortunately, I found the doctor I met to be gruff, arrogant, opinionated, and resentful of the questions people asked him. Worst of all, he didn't seem to be on top of the latest in kids' health. And I need a pediatrician who is going to be aware of what's recommended now and what new research is being done that could be of use to my baby. He kept emphasizing that he's been practicing for 30 years, but he made it seem as though not many of his philosophies about medicine had changed in all that time. Needless to say, I was not going to let my baby near him.

Now I realize I'm a tough client -- I handle a monthly column about kids' health and medical news here at Parenting. I interview experts and medical practitioners in various fields of kids' health all the time. I read every issue of medical journals like Pediatrics, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, so I realize that I have pretty high expectations for my pediatrician. But hey, there's nothing wrong with having high standards for my child's medical care (as I'm sure everyone does, no matter what their medical knowledge or personal experience), and if it seemed like I wouldn't be able to find that in Hoboken, then I would find it in Manhattan.

One silver lining: One of the pregnant women I met at the session was really nice, so she may turn out to be a new-mom buddy.

Then, last week, I took a vacation day from work to meet with two more doctors in Hoboken. I was glad that they both offered private consultations for expecting parents. The first appointment went well -- the doctor seemed very sweet when I saw him interact with his patients, and he was nice to me, polite, and answered all of my questions thoughtfully (his office staff was really nice too). But he was only affiliated with one hospital in the area, and he didn't seem to be completely on top of the kids' health info that I asked about. He wasn't NOT on top of things, but he didn't seem aware of some of the issues I asked about, so I wasn't won over.

Thankfully, it appears I saved the best for last. I went to one final practice that seems to have it all. It's been around for many years (it's just their Hoboken location that's new) and it's affiliated with a lot of New Jersey hospitals and universities, it has extended office hours, multiple doctors, friendly office staff, and more. I had high hopes for this practice, and I was not disappointed.

When I got there the staff was very nice and they gave me a list of the lactation consultants they like, a booklet of common childhood ailments, and their vaccine schedule. So right off the bat, I felt they were anticipating their patients' needs. They also told me that one of their locations, not far from Hoboken, is open until 12 am every night, and I'd always be able to take a sick child there or call and reach a doctor in the evening. And if it's after 12 am, I can page a doctor in the middle of the night. Best of all, I really liked the doctor I met. She was nice, open to my questions, and completely aware and on top of all the things I asked her. In short, our meeting went great. Walking home from the appointment, I felt a little rush of relief to have found a doctor with whom I feel comfortable and think I can trust. Whew.

Now I can cross that major item off my list of baby to-dos and continue to deal with the rest of the list: pack my bag for the hospital, get storage shelves for the baby's closet, make sure my husband squares away his life insurance policy (I got mine settled a little while back), find an organic changing pad, fill out my maternity leave forms at work, and oh yeah, get through labor.

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