Let’s Potty!

So, the time is approaching.  The time I’ve been dreading a bit.  The one developmental milestone, that, for some reason, I was kind of hoping my son would reach later rather than earlier.  It is almost time for toilet training.  How do I know?  Well, the little guy routinely sits on his little potty for a few minutes before bathtime.  We read some books, chat, and that is that.  But, lately, these nightly sits on the potty have occasionally become, shall we say, productive.

Why am I afraid of potty training?  Well,  this is one area of parenting for which I think practical life experience is probably a lot more useful than reading about it.  Perhaps the pediatrician in me is worried the mom won’t be able to do it “right”.  I also have visions of mapping out the shortest distance to the nearest bathroom during every errand, trip, and walk.  Diapers are just so easy right now.  Messy, occasionally, but easy.  But, as we say, toileting is one of the areas where the kids have much of the control, so if he’s getting ready, I better get on board.

The “app gap”: How parents obtain health information

The number of educational topics a pediatrician is trained to cover in a standard well child visit is a bit overwhelming.  Each topic could (and does) fill books.  A 2006 study published in Pediatrics found that there are 162 different verbal health advice directives that pediatricians are told to cover with each patient over time.  These important topics range from injury prevention to nutrition to sexual health to literacy promotion.  But, as the authors of the study point out, not only is there little time to cover these topics, there is scant evidence to suggest whether or not talking about these topics with families is actually effective.  It is often difficult to know exactly what to prioritize for discussion in a short clinic visit.  In order to ameliorate our own anxiety that we didn’t have time for everything, many pediatricians provide educational handouts.  But, does anyone read them?  What’s more, are they written in the language the parent speaks, at a level they can understand?

Continue reading The “app gap”: How parents obtain health information

Pediatrician as turnip, or feeling the squeeze

Are we keeping up with the times?

Recently Dr. Maggie Kozel wrote an excellent post for Huffington Post regarding the need for evolution in the way that we deliver health care in pediatrics.  This is a very timely article in an area that needs attention.  She responds to a recent study out of UCLA that found that well child visits are shorter than we would hope- one-third last less than 10 minutes.  There’s been a lot of talk about this study, but to be honest, I’m not at all surprised.  And, Dr. Kozel is the first I’ve heard truly address the reasons behind this problem.  The current structure of medicine forces primary care physicians to see more and more patients per day.  She points out that the study showed that this problem is especially notable in private practice. Continue reading Pediatrician as turnip, or feeling the squeeze

Both Sides Now

My son just turned 18 months.  Since becoming a mother, many people have asked, has it changed you as a pediatrician? Have you changed the way you practice medicine? The answer? A resounding yes!  And, the reverse is also true; being a pediatrician changes me as a mother. And, not always in the ways you might expect. I find myself searching for the balance between the textbooks I’ve read and the reality that families are living.  And, I find myself more and more with the need to write about it.  Thus, the idea for this blog was born. I am a mother to a beautiful baby boy. I am a pediatrician/child advocate. And, I will be both of these here. My vision for My Two Hats is to take hot topics in pediatrics, child health policy, and parenting and look at them from each side.  It will be part advice with a personal slant, part confession (what the science tells us versus practical reality), and hopefully part entertaining.

There are already a number of pediatricians out there writing and blogging, and there is a veritable industry of mommy blogs (check out my blogroll to see some that I think are great).  Why should you read My Two Hats?  Well, I think have a unique perspective to add.  Our family is bicultural and bilingual and I’ll definitely touch on those themes.  I am a passionate child advocate, especially for underserved kids, and will use this forum to bring their issues to the fore.

Please let me know what you think of My Two Hats!  I am always open to comments, suggestions,  and ideas for post topics.