You gotta pay the troll toll (at the doctor's office.)
November 2, 2011 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Chicagomom/dad filter: looking for an awesome pediatrician for our brand new guy. Got one you love, that you're willing to share?

Baby Jenkins, being a mere 9 days old, had his very first pediatric appointment today. It did not go well, and the doctor, the one my midwife recommended, will not be one to which we will ever EVER return. Ever.

This is our first babby, so we're not super hip on how to go about finding the Perfect Doctor. None of our friends have kids, so we don't have anyone to ask for recommendations. Yelp yields only three options in our area, and none of them look ideal on paper.

Relevant info:
We're breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, and doing that whole attachment parenting thing, so ideally we're looking for a doctor that is supportive of these leanings, or at least has some experience with them. Today's doctor had never seen a cloth diaper before (?!?!), except "maybe when [she] was in India." (?!?!?!?) We're planning on a traditional vaccination schedule. Boy's circumcised.

We're using IL All Kids (yay for free state-provided insurance!), so any doctor we go to would have to accept that; I'd imagine most of them do.

So any recommendations (preferably near Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village/West Town)? Should I be looking for a straight pediatrician, or a family practice? Is it better to find one affiliated with/housed within a hospital, or a stand-alone, independent practice? Do I need to get a referral from Awful Doctor (or my midwife or something), or can I just make an appointment all on my own? Do I need to notify Awful Doctor that I'll never be returning, or is it cool to just never go back?

I've read and favorited this question, but I am looking for info specific to Chicago.

TL;DR: Who's your pediatrician, Chicago MeFites, and can I share them with you?

I'll be paying attention to this thread (up all night with babby), and would be happy to provide additional info if needed. Thanks y'all!
posted by esmerelda_jenkins to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not in your area, but our guy is just under 7 months old, and here is our experience....

We went to the pediatrics clinic at UCLA (which is very good) because we just could not decide on a pediatrician. Since our guy was born at UCLA, all records have been centralized. We did not love any particular doctor except one that did not accept our insurance -but- we got exposed to so many different styles. And had great care in the interim.

I'm sad to admit the rest.

We fudged answers to the doctors' questions a few times to avoid lectures we knew would ensue. Unimportant stuff about styles of infant care we felt we had researched thoroughly (and were right about, like solid foods and sleeping/feeding habits.) When various professionals advised "X" thing we felt strongly against, we just nodded along unless we were feeling supremely uninformed.

We have a new appointment next week we feel great about, and we have no plans to fudge information.


Don't avoid regular wellness check-ups for your newborn based on a bad experience.
posted by jbenben at 11:17 PM on November 2, 2011

We're cloth diapering cosleepers too.

We found that as long as ped is doing the vax on the Sears schedule and treats kiddo when sick, we just do a don't ask/don't tell about the rest.

Our 1st ped was pretty crunchy. When we moved (kid at 2.5) the next one less so. But at this point as long as he signs the childcare sheet, I don't care.

So yeah, look around, but don't stress. Peds aren't gods. They're just people with .more access and more formal medical knowledge than you. They don't know everything.
posted by k8t at 1:40 AM on November 3, 2011

Just to clarify: the doctor's philosophies are less important to me than their bedside manor. I'm looking more for recommendations for specific drs/practices in the area, who are nice, professional, and not dismissive and condescending right off the bat.

I only mentioned the cloth diapers et al because today's dr was shocked and appalled by my nice froggy diaper cover/organic unbleached prefold that appeared when we undressed him. She was all "What is that?!?! Oh noes!! You need Pampers!" She also made us sit for three hours with a newborn in a waiting room filled with coughing, flu-ridden toddlers chomping on Flamin' Hot Cheetos; she then gave me advice about the best kind of Similac to buy instead of breastmilk.

I'm also looking for exact steps to take in procuring treatment (ie: notifying the provider that I am dumping them, transfer of records, etc), as I've only ever had to make appointments for myself, and was pretty lax on that tip prior to pregnancy.

I'm not planning on avoiding any checkups.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 2:07 AM on November 3, 2011

You might be better off figuring out your neighborhood parenting group listserv or Chicago Urban Mom or other similar forums.

And for future readers of this question, ask people with babies/toddlers who they use when you're out and about while pregnant. Some names will emerge.
posted by k8t at 2:16 AM on November 3, 2011

And yes, your experience sounds bad. My ped had infants as priorities early AM and after lunch to avoid germy kids. My new one has a room just for waiting newborns.

The diapering and formula stuff isn't cool.
posted by k8t at 2:18 AM on November 3, 2011

The waiting room experience sounds awful. For comparison, my pediatrician has a special time (Saturday mornings) for the frazzled newborns and their parents, and we also have never waited more than 10 minutes during the week.'s forums are a good resource for the crunchy crowd. Here's a discussion about Chicago pediatricians.
posted by JuliaKM at 2:52 AM on November 3, 2011

Northwestern's medical system has been far superior to anything else I've tried in Chicago. Not sure about their pediatrics but to the first poster's point, their system is pretty great at talking between various departments and cutting down on bureaucratic BS.
posted by Lieber Frau at 5:42 AM on November 3, 2011

We love Dr. McDermott (she is at Swedish and you may want someone closer) - not sure what insurances she is currently taking. And we nursed for two years, used cloth diapers (except at night after a certain point - that boy could pee), and had an alternative vaccination schedule. We used a DO for our birth, too.

Other Chicago parents have resources for you, too. I would recommend going to a la leche league meeting in your neighborhood and talking to the moms there (within the meeting LLL does not recommend anyone but you can ask individuals after or before who their ped doctor is and if they are supportive). And look into Northside Parent Network - they have all kinds of Chicago resources and reviews for doctors, schools, a newsletter, etc. (I like too)

And the easiest way to end your relationship with your troll ped is to have your new ped do it for you. Ask at the new ped if they want the records from any past visits. If the new ped does want those records, you fill out a form which the new ped will fax over and records will be exchanged.

Congrats, Mama, on your new babe. You will find a pediatrician that is a good fit for your family so, knowing that, give yourself an extra nap or two today.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 6:13 AM on November 3, 2011

Get the records, regardless. At my old ped, we had to go in and sign a records release.
posted by k8t at 6:21 AM on November 3, 2011

The biggest hurdle here is insurance--you might have to go through them/notify them to change docs. . Call them and ask.

Some peds practices have open houses or meet & greets.

posted by the young rope-rider at 7:01 AM on November 3, 2011

We loved loved loved Dr. Maxouris, who I believe is in a practice with Dr. McDermott (mutt.cyberspace's recommendation) at Swedish. She was our whole family's doctor, and losing her was at the top of the "cons" list when we decided to move out of the city. She was eminently sensible, respectful, good-humored, and responsive to young parents who didn't yet have a well-developed "blow it off or go to the ER" barometer.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:51 AM on November 3, 2011

My friends have the same parenting philosophy you do, and they go to Lakeview Pediatrics. I took my goddaughter there once, and they were super nice. They didn't care about the methods, just made sure that she was healthy and meeting her milestones.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:34 AM on November 3, 2011

We're huge fans of Dr. Terrizzi at Northshore Hospital in Evanston (close I know but right off the Purple Line). He caught vision issues in our son early (the eye doc says he only gets kids as early as ours from Dr. T). and certainly didn't blink at cloth diapers and is supportive of breastfeeding (without being fanatic about it). He seems to be of the school that parents have been raising perfectly good children without interference for thousands of years, so, do what's needed to keep them healthy and otherwise leave them alone.

That said, find a doctor you trust enough to tell them what you're doing, withholding information is a bad thing in my mind. They may be able to alert you to pitfalls you haven't found in your own research. A good doctor will recognize that there are many philosophies out there and will support you as long as what you're doing isn't going to harm the child.
posted by Morydd at 9:41 AM on November 3, 2011

Congrats on the little one! I have a 10-month old little dude, so we're in the thick of these things right now.

Our doula and midwife recommended Dr. Minkus - however, he's in Lincolnwood/Skokie. He's pretty crunchy: pro-breastfeeding, doesn't bat an eye at the cloth diapers, will work with you to get your child all of his vaccinations. He's popular, though, so getting an appointment ASAP probably won't work.

A kinda crunchy co-worker of mine suggests Town and Country Pediatrics in Lakeview. YMMV.

(and thanks for the above suggestions for the docs at Swedish - it's nice to know that if we ever switch we have good docs near us)
posted by photovox at 2:09 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you (or anyone else) are still in need of a suggestion, my Chicago friend (son just turned 1) writes: "We like our pediatrician. She is sort of a hippie, but is all for immunizations, etc. Her name is Lois Miller and she is in Roscoe Village. Her address is 2255 West Roscoe; phone number is 773-832-1081. She has really bent over backwards to accommodate us, so I definitely recommend her (i.e., calls every Monday for the first six months of [son]'s life)."
posted by Madamina at 7:48 PM on November 8, 2011

For any future readers:
I ended up going to my randomly-selected-for-my-insurance PCP, Dr. Mark Rastetter, and he is super awesome. I saw him once or twice during my pregnancy, and he ended up being the on-call dude when I was (unhappily) induced/c-sectioned. I remembered him being nice, and figured I'd check him out as our family doc. He was pleasant, supportive, and enthusiastic about the choices we were making. Highly recommended, yo.

Norwegian American Hospital otherwise, eh. Maybe not so much.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 4:15 PM on November 25, 2011

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