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I had to learn the hard way when it came to choosing the right pediatrician. Before my son was born and I had to fill out my hospital paperwork, I had to have a doctor already lined up. This would be the doctor that would assess him in the hospital, perform his circumcision, and conduct his future follow up wellness visits. “No big deal,” I thought. “I’ll just pick one-they are all certified and pretty much the same.” Big mistake. While I didn’t have a horrible experience, I didn’t have the best one either. You can have a much easier time (and transition) than I did-here’s how!
Listen to Others
I know everyone has different preferences and opinions, but as a mom, doing things from word of mouth has really helped me. My ob nurse suggested a few pediatricians that she raved about, but I ended up not choosing them because they were a farther drive away from my home. I wish I would have been more open-minded. Once I became dissatisfied with my choice, I asked my friends and co-workers who they use. I ended up finding a wonderful doctor that met my son’s needs and complimented my personality and lifestyle. I wish I would have surveyed around more before deciding on who I initially did.
Schedule a Pre-Interview
Most doctors will allow you to visit their office prior to your first appointment. I honestly think those offices give you some good insight as to how the practice is run. I could immediately see the difference between the two pediatricians that I used when it came to wait time, check in, check out, and the overall happiness of the parents and children in the office (not to mention one was much cleaner than the other). If the office will not allow you to come in, they may not be the best fit for you!
If you do decide to meet your pediatrician prior to your visit, come prepared with a list of questions. Some key topics you want to discuss are:
- Is the doctor certified by the American Board of Pediatrics?
- Does the doctor have specialized training?
- How long have they been in practice?
- What is their philosophy when it comes to giving vaccinations? Circumcision? Feeding?
- How are emergencies handled?
- Do they make house calls?
Consider the Same Gender
Personally, I have come to prefer my son to be seen and treated by a woman. I like the fact that I can talk to my son’s doctor on a more personal level and that she is also a mother. It brought me more comfortable overall. The first doctor that treated me was not a parent and I felt like that connection and understanding was missing.
One important deciding factor should be the doctor’s affiliations-especially insurance (to ensure you are fully covered) and hospitals they work directly with (you never know when accidents or emergencies will arise).
Once you consider these top five topics, I think you will have an easier time choosing the right professional for yourself and your child.