Matthew B. McDonald, MD

Dr. McDonald is a dad of three- and one-year-old children and  a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a dad, and how did you overcome it? The biggest challenge I face as a dad is having a fun, loving relationship with my girls while maintaining fairness and consistency. I try and dedicate time to doing fun activities with my kids. Sometimes they are planned, and sometimes just what the girls want to do. This is a great way to bond and teach at the same time.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? I was surprised how much becoming a father changed my perspective as a pediatrician. Being a dad has made me a better doctor. I have grown to appreciate just how much work parenting really is.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? The obvious answer would be the birth of a new child. There is no comparable event. Otherwise, every day is filled with firsts that I try not to miss. Belly laughs, first words, and first steps are a few of my favorites.

What’s the most overrated thing about fatherhood? Dirty diapers — no matter how many times my wife tells me that changing diapers will strengthen the father-daughter bond.

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? The laughter of kids. It’s amazingly powerful.

Why are fathers important? Fathers are important male role models to their children, and they play an important part in supporting child development and wellness in a different way from mothers. Dads can also support mothers in many ways by making parenting a team approach.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? ESPN, exercise, and helpful grandparents are all great! Remember to have realistic expectations. Kids are kids! Making time for dates and quality time with my wife is also very important.

Dr. McDonald’s Q&A

Since my baby turned a year old, he’s become a picky eater. What should I do?

Profile by Wyatt Myers