Willows Pediatrics Blog - We Know Kids

We Know Kids

The Willows Pediatrics Blog

Practice Update

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we will no longer be able to offer some of the support services we are currently offering. As of the end of September, we will no longer have the in-house services of our nutritionist Abby Greenspun, MS, RD, CDN or mental health providers Susie Basler, MA, LMSW, Susan Reichman O’Brien, LCSW and Charlotte Berger, LPC, LMHC.

We are saddened that this is the case as we have truly enjoyed having this option for our patients and working closely with these wonderful providers.

All four of these wonderful providers have private practices outside of Willows where they will continue to see patients.

We will be reaching out to all of the current patients of Abby, Susie, Susan and Charlotte to let them know and offer a referral to their private practice.

If you have any questions or would like a referral for nutrition or mental health, please contact your doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner at Willows.

New Dates Added – Flu Vaccine Clinics Fall 2022

We will be offering the influenza vaccine this Fall for the 2022-2023 flu season. We recommend the flu vaccine for all of our patients 6 months and older. The vaccine is the best protection we have against the flu! It decreases your child’s risk of severe infection, complications, and hospitalization from the flu.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Willows will only be offering the flu shot; we will not be offering the nasal flu vaccine.

If your child has a well or sick visit during the Fall, we will offer the flu vaccine at that time, if clinically appropriate. Additionally, we will offer appointment-based flu clinics that are drive-thru in our parking lot on the following dates:

Afternoon clinics will be held 2 – 5 pm on:

Wednesday 9/21

Tuesday 9/27

Friday 9/30

Full day clinic will be held 10am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm on: Monday 9/26 – this clinic will be in the building

Afternoon outdoor drive-thru clinic will be held 2 – 5 pm on:

Monday 10/10

Wednesday 10/12

Tuesday 10/25

Full day clinic will be held 10am – 1 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm on: Wednesday 10/5 – this clinic will be in the building.


The following dates will be indoors at our office from 2-5 pm by appointment only:

Wednesday 11/2

Tuesday 11/8

Tuesday 11/15

Please call the office to book an appointment for your child’s flu vaccine.

All flu vaccine clinics will be by appointment only for Willows patients. Please call the office during our regular hours (M-F 8:30 am – 5 pm) to schedule an appointment.

Please download and fill out the 2022 Injectable Flu Shot administration sheet. If unable, we will have blank copies for you when you arrive.

*Please note that all dates above are subject to availability of supply

Dr. Sollinger Pens Op-Ed

Recently, Dr. Sollinger teamed up with State Senator Will Haskell (his former patient) to write an op-ed piece for the CT Post titled “Get your young child vaccinated for COVID-19”. As the title suggests the article cites the low COVID-19 vaccination rates across the country and in Connecticut and makes the case for why parents should get their young children vaccinated.

If you’d like to read the full article, click here.

Dr. Woodward Announces Retirement And We Welcome Dr. Zachary Steinman

A letter from Dr. Woodward:

To Our Families,

We want to share this message from Dr. Janet Woodward as she embarks on her next steps, and
let you know what the future holds for Willows Pediatrics:

When I started as a new pediatrician joining Willows Pediatrics, I was happy for the opportunity
to take care of infants, children, and adolescents in a vibrant small town not far from where I
grew up. I will be forever grateful for being welcomed into the local medical community served
by Norwalk Hospital and for being welcomed by families in Westport and surrounding towns. I
am also grateful for the original Willows partners, who set an amazing example of dedication to
the practice, to always learning, and to providing the most up to date medical care possible.

Now 38 years later it is time for me to move on and for Willows to bring on a new enthusiastic
and wonderful pediatrician. Thank you for the opportunity to help take care of what is most
important in our lives, our children, and to feel part of so many of our amazing families.
Through ups and downs, sharing joy and heartbreak, what I have learned from you will always
stay with me. My last official day at Willows will be September 15, 2022.

At the same time, we are very excited to welcome a new physician starting July 18, 2022.
Zachary Steinman grew up in Westport and attended our local schools. He graduated Phi Beta
Kappa from Wesleyan University and with distinction in Medical Humanities from the Frank H.
Netter, MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Zachary is completing his pediatric
residency at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where he is widely recognized for his
clinical skills, compassion, and leadership. Dr. Steinman will be a tremendous addition to
Willows, and he will be living nearby with his wife, two children, and family dogs.

If you have any questions about which Willows provider is right for you and your children,
please do not hesitate to call. I look forward to seeing you in the community and wish everyone
good health and much happiness!


Janet C. Woodward, MD

Updated: COVID-19 Vaccine for Under 5 Year Olds

We are thrilled to see that there is finally an option for children 6 months to 5 years to get vaccinated for COVID-19! On Saturday June 18, the CDC and FDA completed their review process and approved 2 vaccines for this age group.

Child getting a vaccine

How do the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer differ?

The Moderna vaccine is two doses four weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine is three doses, dose one and two are separated by three weeks and dose two to three need to be eight weeks apart. Both were found to be effective. The clinical trials showed that both vaccines produce adequate antibody responses in children in this age group. Moderna reported approximately 40% efficacy in this age group for preventing symptomatic COVID disease. Pfizer reported 80% efficacy after three doses. Please note that the efficacy for two doses of Pfizer was not good, it is important to get your child the third dose. Also, importantly, Moderna is currently testing an omicron-specific booster for the third dose in this age group, which would be great!

What side effects should I expect from these vaccines?

For both vaccines, the most common side effects for 6 month – 2 year olds were drowsiness and irritability. For 2 year – 4 year olds the most common side effects were pain at the injection site and fatigue. There were no serious side effects reported. There were no cases of myocarditis reported.

My child recently had COVID, when should he or she get the vaccine?

It is absolutely safe for your child to get the COVID vaccine as soon as they finish their isolation period. However, we rarely see repeat infections within a few months of infection so we do know that a recent COVID infection provides pretty good protection for a few months.

Where can we read more about this?

American Academy of Pediatrics: FAQs for Families

Your local epidemiologist: FDA meeting for <5 COVID vaccine: Q&A

Yale: What parents need to know

Where can we get our child vaccinated?

Willows will have limited availability of COVID vaccine clinics for this age group. We cannot rapidly vaccinate all of our patients, we’d love to but we don’t have the staff or space to do that while continuing to do all the summer check ups and sick visits. We encourage you to get your child the vaccine wherever is first available.

UPDATE: We will be offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for 6 month to under 5 year olds at Willows on the afternoon of Tuesday July 26. There will be a corresponding second dose clinic to be announced at a later date. We will open booking on Monday July 11 at 11 am. To make an appointment, please call our office.

Here are some other local sites offering it:

Griffin Hospital is giving vaccines to children 6 months+ in Shelton: Griffin Health COVID Vaccine

CVS is giving vaccines to children 18 months and over: CVS COVID Vaccine

Walgreens is giving vaccines to children 3 years and over: Walgreens COVID Vaccine

Rite Aid is giving COVID vaccines to children 3 years and over: Rite Aid COVID Vaccine

Yale is offering COVID vaccine clinics: Check here

Stamford Hospital is offering the COVID vaccine for all ages: Schedule here



Formula Shortage

The nationwide baby formula shortage is not getting any better. Willows Pediatrics hosted a visit from Congressman Jim Himes and News Channel 12 today to discuss this important issue. If you’d like to see News 12 coverage of this event, please click here.

News 12 coverage of baby formula shortage

News 12 coverage of baby formula shortage

A few important points based on questions we often get asked:

Can I switch formula brands?

Yes, if you have a healthy baby on a regular infant formula, then you can use any name or store brand infant formula. All infant formulas sold in the US are FDA approved to have the proper nutrition for normal growth and development. Here is a helpful list of equivalent formulas from North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. This will give you more options when you go to the store.

The exceptions to this are:

– If your baby has a milk protein allergy, then you need to continue to use a hydrolyzed or extensively hydrolyzed formula. Please talk to your pediatrician if you aren’t sure which formula to use.

-If your baby is premature or has complex medical needs, please talk to your pediatrician before changing formulas.

Can I dilute formula?

Absolutely, not! This is not safe. Babies are fragile. They require a delicate balance of water, electrolytes, fat and protein. If you alter this, they can develop seizures.

Can I make my own baby formula?

Please do NOT do this. Baby kidneys are only capable of handling certain concentrations of fluid and electrolytes, making your own formula can harm your baby. Additionally, doing this carries serious risk of contamination, which could cause your baby to get sick.

If you are looking to read more on this, please reference this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions about your baby!

Congressman Himes discussing formula shortage

Congressman Himes discusses baby formula shortage at Willows Pediatrics


CT Magazine Top Doctors

We are excited to announce that ALL 6 of our pediatricians have been named to Connecticut Magazine’s annual “Top Doctors List” for 2022!

This is an annual list compiled based on nominations from peer physicians and vetted to meet the criteria to earn Top Doc. The list is created with the national healthcare research firm Castle Connolly. If you’d like to see the entire list, click here.

We take pride in the care we provide and appreciate being recognized.

Formula Recall

FDA headline: FDA warns consumers not to use certain powdered infant formula produced in Abbott Nutrition's Facility in Sturgis, MichiganOn February 17, 2022, the FDA announced that it is investigating concerns about bacterial infections potentially related to Similac, Elecare and Alimentum powdered formulas. At this time, there are 4 cases of infants sickened with Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport. This recall only related to powdered formula, not to liquid ready to feed. To read the full FDA announcement, please click here.

The FDA is advising consumers not to use Similac, Alimentum, or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later

To check if formula you have at home is included in the recall please go to this website, where you can enter the lot number on the can and check if the recall applies.

What should I do if I was using the recalled formula for my infant?

Stop using that lot number and switch to a different infant formula. If you aren’t sure which formula to switch to, take a look at the chart below or contact your pediatrician. Monitor your child for illness, bacteria such as the ones involved in this recall can make children very ill with symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

What formula should I switch to?

Formula conversions

Willows welcomes two new providers!

We are thrilled to announce that we have added two new team members at Willows! We welcome Amanda Nederlof, APRN (left) Jessica Gonzalez, PA-C (right) to our team! Both are pediatric professionals with years of pediatric experience in Fairfield County before joining our practice.

As a Physician Assistant (PA) and Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) both Jessica and Amanda are skilled professionals, qualified with academic and practical experience to provide complete medical care for infants, children, and adolescents.

Both Jessica and Amanda have a wealth of experience diagnosing and treating common and uncommon medical problems, responding to emergencies, and advising and communicating with families. When you see Jessica or Amanda with your child, you are in the care of an outstanding clinician who can either be your child’s primary medical provider or work with your physician. The physicians at Willows, together with our PAs, and APRN work together to ensure that we have flexible scheduling and can be responsive to urgent care and after-hours needs.

Amanda Nederlof, APRN’s Biography

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to work in pediatrics. Combining my love for education and childhood development, a career in pediatric medicine was an easy decision for me. After moving back home (Wellesley, MA) after college at Muhlenberg and working as a research assistant at Partners Healthcare (now Mass General Brigham), I was inspired to pursue a career in the field of nursing. I completed my training with a Master’s Program in Nursing in Pediatrics at the Yale University School of Nursing. This training allowed me to be exposed to many different settings where children receive health care. This included a Ear, Nose, and Throat specialty office, school-based and community health centers, and private practice pediatrics. After graduating, I worked in a pediatric office in Connecticut for a number of years, where I truly enjoyed watching my patients grow. As a new mother, I understand the anxiety that comes with being a parent. My goal is to provide patient centered care, where I make certain that I take into consideration both the patient and their family when I walk in a room. My aim is to make each visit with your family fun, interactive, and educational while providing the most up-to-date and evidence-based care possible. Click here to read Amanda’s full bio.

Jessica Gonzalez, PA’s Biography

As soon as I was accepted to Physician Assistant school, I knew that I wanted to work in pediatrics. I attended Hofstra University PA program in New York State. I was fortunate to do an extra elective rotation at a Children’s Hospital, which solidified my passion for pediatrics. When I graduated, I started work at Norwalk Hospital/CCMC, where I spent four years working in pediatric inpatient medicine, the neonatal ICU (NICU), and in the well-baby newborn nursery. I genuinely loved going to work every day.

When my daughter was born, I transitioned to outpatient pediatrics, which is what I have been doing for the past three years. I love working with all ages, from newborns to young adults. I have a special interest in pediatric asthma and teach pediatric clinical medicine at the University of Bridgeport PA program. I am so excited to be able to become a part of the Willows Pediatrics Family, and can’t wait to get to know all of the Willows families! Click here to read Jessica’s full bio.


Pacifier Recall

This week a recall on pacifiers was announced:

From CNN:

More than 333,000 silicone pacifiers available for purchase on Amazon have been voluntarily recalled by the distributor due to reports that the nipple can detach and cause a chocking hazard for infants.

The recalled pacifiers, made by Frigg in Denmark, come in two types: The “Classic” version has a silicone nipple attached to a round plastic shield; in a version called “Daisy,” the nipple is attached to a round, scalloped plastic shield. Each design comes in 40 colors and two sizes, 0 to 6 months and 6 to 18 months. Each pacifier has the name “Frigg” in raised letters on the handle of the pacifier shield.

A few thoughts:

– We prefer pacifiers that are one solid piece for this exact reason.

– If your child’s pacifier shows signs of wear or damage, please replace it immediately.


photo from CNN