Building a solid, trusting relationship with your child during the early years will help me to be more connected with him/her and better guide him/her through the sensitive changes of puberty and the challenges of adolescence.
When providing routine well child care I focus on growth and development, feeding habits, sleeping habits, safety concerns, and address any other parental concerns. I am patient with fussy and anxious children (and parents :-). Unlike in a traditional office setting, there is no rush with Dr. Stef On Call, no time constraints. I will take the time to listen to all of your concerns and answer all of your questions.
I strongly support breastfeeding, though I recognize this may not work out or be the best option for everyone. I will provide whatever guidance and advice you may need regarding breastfeeding, milk supply, latching issues, pumping, supplementing, weaning, etc. If desired, I can also arrange for a certified lactation consultant to come to your house to assist you with any problems or concerns.
I definitely advocate vaccines. I recognize that , like any medication or procedure, they are not without risks, but I strongly believe, as the evidence over the last several decades supports, that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks of any serious side effects. Vaccines are truly one of the greatest medical advances of the 20th century and have saved 100s of 1000s of lives over the past several decades. I will be happy to discuss vaccine recommendations and concerns with families on an individual basis to try to ease any angst they may have about vaccines. I certainly want parents to feel comfortable and confident that they are making the right decision for their child when they choose to vaccinate.
When it comes to discipline, I advocate an approach that involves respectful parenting, consistency, and positive reinforcement. To discipline literally means to teach or to train. Discipline does not require punishment that involves shame or pain. I remind parents to be a good role model, to show their children how to manage their anger and frustration, and how to treat and interact with others. Do what you say, say what you do. I am happy to assist parents who are having behavior problems or power struggles with their children.
As children get older and become more independent I focus with them on making good choices, with an emphasis on lifestyle habits: eating habits, exercise habits, “screen time”, sleeping habits, etc. Again, parents are the #1 role model for their children when it comes to lifestyle habits - I encourage parents to set good examples for their children to follow. I also focus on school success and peer relations. Building a child’s self-esteem and resilience, teaching them to accept responsibility, helping them express themselves, communicate effectively, and get along with others as well as develop a sense of compassion and empathy for others, are all qualities that need to be nurtured during the elementary school years.
When it comes to medications, I generally feel that less is better, especially in the case of antibiotics and cold medications. Though there are some definite indications for treating with antibiotics, I would prefer to avoid their use if possible. As for all the cold and cough medications out there, there is really no indication for any of them - they offer no benefit to less dangerous natural remedies or simply symptomatic care. Time and a little extra TLC, more than anything, are going to heal most children when it comes to the common viral illnesses. I value a parents' input and preferences when there are treatment options to consider. I strive to educate and inform parents about their child's medical condition so they can confidently and actively participate in their child's care and medical decisions.