How to Choose Your Child's Pediatrician
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read an article that said you should start interviewing pediatricians in your second trimester. It was just one task on the long list of things to do to get ready for having a baby, much like planning a wedding. There’s one thing to check off after another, with an important date looming in the future.
Not having any kids of my own, I thought they were going a little overboard with recommending interviewing pediatricians. Did you really need to go to all that trouble?
Maybe not. But now that I’m a parent, I can attest to the fact that you spend a lot of time at the pediatrician’s office. And it might not seem like a big deal at the time, but the fact that you feel comfortable in the waiting room and can get along with the office staff can make a big difference in your experiences when you take your kids in to see the doctor, whether it’s one of the many well check ups during babyhood or the never-ending trips for ear infections and strep throat.
So maybe you don’t need to actually set up interviews with each potential pediatrician. But if you’re expecting a child, or just in the market for a new pediatrician, here are a few tips for finding one your whole family will like.
- First, and maybe most important in my book, ask your friends who they like. Experience is key, and other parents will be the best source for telling you which doctors and offices they’ve had good experiences with, and which ones have presented some issues.
- Do a little background check. You can find out the basic information on doctors and their credentials online.
- Visit the office. See how you feel being in the waiting room, watch how the office staff and nurses interact with patients.
- Do ask some questions, whether you set up a formal interview, make a call or just send an email. Be sure to ask what hospital the doctor is affiliated with, whether they will actually be the one to visit your newborn in the hospital, what their hours are, their on-call options and their payment policies.
- It’s also not a bad idea to discuss some issues with your doctor, such as where they stand on breastfeeding vs bottle, immunizations and alternative medicines.
Just like with any decision a parent has to make, go with your gut instinct. If you walk in and have a weird feeling about the office, keep looking. You’ll find one where you immediately feel comfortable. And when you’re comfortable, your kids will be too.