‘The Pediatrician Next Door’: La Jolla doctor launches podcast to answer parents’ questions
Wendy Hunter seeks to be both a physician and a friend in helping to solve mysteries of parenting.
It’s every parent’s lament to not have enough time with a child’s pediatrician when there are questions to be asked. Questions such as “How can I handle jet lag with a toddler?” or “Does my child need multivitamins?” or “What is actually dangerous in the house?”
La Jolla pediatrician Dr. Wendy Hunter recently launched a podcast that takes real parent questions and provides answers at length.
“I had written a blog for years that goes in depth into parent questions,” Hunter said. She thought that one day her blog entries would be compiled into a book.
“A friend reminded me of how many people listen to podcasts, so I decided to go that route,” Hunter said.
Get the La Jolla Light weekly in your inbox
News, features and sports about La Jolla, every Thursday for free
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the La Jolla Light.
Her podcast, called “The Pediatrician Next Door,” is available for free on all streaming platforms, with new episodes released on Wednesdays. Thus far, 12 20-minute episodes have been recorded and seven have been released.
With a seemingly infinite amount of parent questions — both rare and frequent — Hunter said she intends to record the podcast for a while.
“I like to see myself as your friendly neighborhood pediatrician friend who can answer questions with more of a reality focus than what I can give in the office,” she said. “The truth is, we are so limited by time in the office that we never have enough time to fully answer a question, so that’s the huge benefit of the podcast. Parents can search for a topic that might apply to them and listen to the answer in depth.”
In particular, Hunter said she is looking for what she calls “doorknob moments” that can be critical to answering parents’ most burning questions.
“Sometimes when a clinic visit is finished, we go to the door and we put our hand on the doorknob, but we stand there a little while,” she said. “Parents may take that pause to really get down to what’s on their mind. Those are the questions I want to explore on ‘The Pediatrician Next Door.’”
Past interviews have included a pediatric dietitian on how to get children to eat vegetables. Hunter also has documented parents’ questions as they arise in her office. She sometimes runs into another room to grab a microphone and recorder to get the question exactly right for future episodes.
“As I’m developing the show, the format is changing,” she said. “Some are based on common questions I get a lot, things parents get anxious about. For example, every parent has asked themselves if their child has autism. So I did an episode on that in which I give them self-talk tools, resources and information they can actually understand. I delve into literature and translate what we know. ... I try to translate science into daily parenting.”
“Parents don’t have a lot of time and there is so much information out there, so I want things to be accessible. Episodes are 20 minutes so you can listen without going down a rabbit hole.”
— Dr. Wendy Hunter
“Quirky” questions also have inspired episodes, including what to do about super-chapped lips and when a child should start wearing shoes.
“I want to show people how doctors think and what goes on behind the scenes,” Hunter said. “Parents don’t have a lot of time and there is so much information out there, so I want things to be accessible. Episodes are 20 minutes so you can listen without going down a rabbit hole.”
With the wealth of information available on the internet, some good and some bad, Hunter said she tries to “give a source of knowledge so you can navigate on your own with a base of knowledge.”
“There is not a right answer in parenting — every kid is different, families are different, the child’s demeanor might be different and might respond to things differently — but we can build knowledge to navigate things on our own,” she said.
Hunter also gives resources and product recommendations based on her research.
As the mother of teenagers, Hunter said she tries to understand parents’ perspective and be compassionate. “There are a lot of things you might be embarrassed to ask a pediatrician but might ask a friend,” she said. “I like to be both. And the format is anonymous, so people can ask embarrassing questions.”
To submit a question, visit babyscience.info and go to “Ask Dr. Wendy” at the bottom of the page.
Learn more about “The Pediatrician Next Door” at babyscience.info/podcast. ◆