David L. Hill, MD

Dr. Hill is a father of three children. He’s a pediatrician in private practice with Cape Fear Pediatrics in North Carolina and the author of the book, Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro.

What’s your specialty? Pediatrics

How many children do you have? I have three children: Abby, age 12; Sellers, age 10; and Julian, age 7.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while your wife was pregnant, and how did you overcome it? My wife’s third pregnancy was especially rough on her, leaving me solely responsible at times for child care, house cleaning, shopping, and my full-time job. Overcoming it? Two words: sleep deprivation.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? I’m most surprised to see how my own children evolve out of the assumptions I’ve made about them. Just when I think I have one of them “pegged” as being a certain way, he or she will prove me wrong.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? You know, I was given this advice, but I just didn’t take it: People said, “Remember to work on your marriage. Make time for each other.” We never did. Now we are divorced.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? Don’t miss that moment when you shake your head at your baby, and she shakes it back, and then you do it again, and she does it again. It’s the first game she’s playing with you, and it doesn’t get old, although you may get dizzy.

What’s the most overrated thing about fatherhood? Playing ball: You throw, you catch, you throw again, you catch again — enough already!

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? Changing diapers: People dread it, but there is great pride to be taken in a job well done in this department.

Why are fathers important? As a pediatrician and the author of an upcoming book on the topic, I’m going to go all medical on you. The clinical literature shows that a father’s involvement has a direct and positive impact on everything you want for your child, from successful nursing to high school graduation to the avoidance of drug use, high-risk sexual behavior and serious mental illness. Dads are powerful medicine indeed.

Career, marriage, kids … How does a guy stay sane? Go back to the basics. Sleep enough. Eat healthy food. Exercise several times a week. Take time to work on your marriage or relationship. Do your best to enjoy who your kids are today rather than waiting for them to change.

Dr. Hill’s Q&As

Our newborn sleeps a lot better with us than she does in her own crib. I don’t want her to cry in there for hours. Why are doctors so down on co-sleeping?

My baby seemed to enjoy a lot of different foods until he turned one. Then he became the pickiest eater! How do I get him to try new foods?

Profile by Wyatt Myers