Seeking a Pediatrician Who Supports Breastfeeding

Parent Q&A

  • Extended breastfeeding pediatrician?

    (7 replies)

    Hello, I'm looking for a pediatrician that encourages and supports extended breastfeeding near San Fran, as far as Daly City in the Peninsula and/or as far as Lafayette in the East Bay. Anyone?

    I recommend Dr. Katya Gerwein in Berkeley.  She supports extended breastfeeding.  She is also a wonderful doctor who cares about her patients.  My kids are lucky to have her as their pediatrician.

    "We" breastfed our daughter until she was 2 (in keeping with World Health Organization guidelines, and as is common elsewhere).  She's now 2.75.  Our doctor was Dr. Dong Lin in SF Chinatown, and while I wouldn't say he encouraged us, he certainly didn't have any problem with it.  He is about the kindest, gentlest person we know, very supportive unless there's a reason not to be, and an excellent (western medicine) physician.  His English is fine.  He also always seems available to see her.

    We love Dr. Gary Bean in Oakland. Glenview Pediactrics - very open and supportive of extended breastfeeding. I saw him with both of my two kids who were breastfeed past 3 years old.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Truly pro-breastfeeding doctor

May 2003

I didn't see this discussed anywhere on the website, so thought I'd put it out there: does anyone out there know of a truly pro- breastfeeding pediatrician? One who has certified/licensed lactation consultants on staff, isn't always recommending introducing a bottle, and who can help me find a doctor to see about any problems I have with my breasts? I'm having pain in my breasts, but I don't know whom to see, and I'd like to be able to call my baby's doctor to ask for a referral, but I don't think he's very knowledgeable about breastfeeding. He thinks the baby gets most of what he needs in the first 5 minutes, always recommends trying a bottle of either breastmilk or formula (''it won't hurt your supply any'' -- yeah right), and did not have me see a lactation consultant right after birth, which I think he should have. Even Kaiser pediatrics does this! Oh, and the doctor should accept blue shield HMO. Jennifer

I believe that Michael Usem at Primary Pediatric is a truly pro- breastfeeding pediatrician. We had planned on using him only for the Day 1 check up at Summit, but then our daughter developed some complications, and so we had to go back to the office very soon after leaving the hospital. We were so impressed with him that there is no way we would change physicians! We were already working with a lactation consultant by her two-week appointment when we found out that her weight gain had been quite inadequate. He was supportive of absolutely everything we were doing. Even when our lactation consultant and a breastfeeding mom/pediatrician friend of ours told us that it was time to seriously consider formula, Dr. Usem was happy with us continuing to exclusively breastfeed. It is clear that he would have referred us to a lactation consultant if we didn't already have one (or two or three) we were happy with. He even talked about our case with his wife, whom I believe is a lactation consultant. He never referred me to a physician to help me with issues with my breasts. I think that's for two reasons -- my midwife was helping me a tiny bit, and I don't think there really are physicians who deal with lactation at a very high level. I asked a bunch of people, and nobody knew of one, or even a field of medicine dealing with lactation. Eventually, we began supplementing with formula because my supply problems were insurmountable, and he was very supportive of that too. He is very mellow, sweet and knowlegeable. Their phone number is 510-433-1040 Tamar

Our pediatrician, Kathleen Smith, is very pro-breastfeeding. In fact, she is a breastfeeding mom herself. She is in the Oakland office of Primary Pediatrics (433-1040). I don't believe they have lactation consultants on staff (nor would I think any local pediatrician's office would have such a thing) but the office would probably have some recommendations for you (see mine below). For breast pain, would your ob/gyn be more knowledgeable ? I sought my own ob's advice when I was having trouble and pain with breastfeeding, Dr. Streitfeld. Also, his wife is an expert in breastfeeding and teaches classes, gives seminars, etc., so, by association, he's quite knowledgeable too ! As for my own lactation consultant, I called Tina Benitez and she came twice to my home for a very reasonable cost. After that, I could call her and ask her advice on anything from a plugged duct to the right nursing bra. I don't have her number right now (and in my new mom haze, I may not be spelling her name correctly). Send me e-mail if you would like her name and number. I believe she also spends a day a week at Alta Bates and a day at Children's Hospital of Oakland. boering

The pediatrician, if he is accepting new patients, you want is Myles Abbott, M.D. in Berkeley and Orinda. Brilliant, sweet, and hugely, highly, enthusiastically supportive of breastfeeding mamas. I nursed both of my children for 3 years, and he never once told me, asked me, etc. to stop. He applauded my commitment to breastfeed them exclusively and, even, with both children, made a comment that breastfed children's skin looks different than non-breastfed children. We have Blue Cross insurance, which Myles does not accept, so we pay ''cash.'' I do think, however, because I have referred him many a Blue Shield friend, that he does (or used to accept) accept Blue Shield. As far as lactation specialists who are in Myles' office, I wouldn't know about that. Can he refer you on to someone excellent--ABSOLUTELY. He is the king of always knowing to whom he should refer a patient (and parent). If you end up with Myles, tell him Danna sent you. I am his biggest fan and, as an additional endorsement, am very hard to please. Kudos to you for nursi ADORES the pediatrician

I love our ''doctor'' she's actually a nurse practitioner. her name is Jen Wineman and she is with Primary Pediatrics. They have offices in Oakland and Alameda. The number in Alameda is 510-523-3123- they may have a seperate number for Oakland. They also have another nurse practitioner who works there who is a big breastfeeding proponet but I am spacing her name- the office should be able to tell you though. Good luck. Juliette

I don't know the answer to all of your questions, but we have found Dr. Janet Perlman at Bayside Medical Group to be very pro- breastfeeding and supportive in the face of the breastfeeding challenges that we are facing. We saw a lactation consultant before seeing the doctor, but she has been supportive of the advice that we have received and seems as anxious as we are to wean our baby off of supplementation and transition to exclusive breastfeeding. There is a lactation consultant on staff (who is on vacation so we haven't seen her), but seeing her is billed as an office visit, which is a plus. anon

Dr. Salzburg at Kiwi Pediatrics seems to be very pro- breastfeeding. We started seeing her when my son was about one. At the one-year well baby visit she asked me if I was getting any pressure to stop breastfeeding now that my son was a year old. She also talked in a very positive way about extended breastfeeding and asked if I needed any support. We didn't go much deeper than that because my breastfeeding is going really well, but I'm sure she would have been very helpful if I'd needed any assistance. I also think Dr. Robin Winokur (in the same office) is also very pro-breastfeeding, although I haven't talked to her about it as much. Kathryn

We see Robin Winokur from Kiwi on Alcatraz Avenue (phone: (510) 6521720), and she fully encourages breastfeeding. When I had a question about medication (for me) compatible with nursing it was her who had the information right there, while my own doctor never got back to me about it. The first doctor from this practice we saw was David Kittams. He came to see us in the hospital right after our daughter was born. He was very supportive of breastfeeding, recommended a lactation consultant in case we have problems. He also encouraged to see her in any case, which we didn't do, but maybe should have done because as I learned later my position wasn't good (fine for my baby, but I got neck-shoulder pain and wrist problems). I am sorry to her about your breast problems. With some advice things may get better soon. As new mothers we have to do so many things for the first time, that it is not surprising that some of them don't work out so well for the baby or for the mother. In particular with breastfeeding it's very important to get support quickly. Several of my friends got immediate support and good advice by women from La Lech League. Did you try to call them, or did you go to their monthly meetings (1st Thursday, 10-12 at Birth & Bonding in Solany, please call to make sure this info is up to date)? They are very experienced. Pediatric interships from Childrens Hospital actually go to those meetings to learn about breastfeeding. Also, there are a couple of good books on the topic, for example ''The womanly art of breastfeeding'' by LLL. All the best for you and your baby, Julia