I think one of the most intimidating decisions I had to make before my babies were born was when I had to decide who would be their pediatrician. There are so many options. There are so many factors. It’s a huge decision and you want to feel comfortable with the decision, because babies get sick. And when you have to take your baby to the doctor, you want to trust the person taking care of your most precious person.
I’ve put together a little list with some information about how we chose our pediatrician, who we love!
1. Ask your friends who already have children what they think of their pediatrician and/or the practice. Make sure you ask people whose opinions you value. You realize a little bit into your pregnancy and more so after having your child that you and your friends may have very different parenting values. So ask the opinions of people whose parenting values align with yours. In our case, we had a family friend who was a pediatric RN for the practice where we planned to send our children. She was able to help us by giving some background information on the doctors and the way they prescribe medicine and this helped us make our final decision.
2. Do your research first. Decide which things are important to you. What would be a deal breaker with a pediatrician? Does it matter to you where the practice is located? Do you want a short drive to the clinic or does that matter at all to you? The practice we chose has a few locations around town, but we wanted the location closest to us for our primary pediatrician. Does it matter to you how much experience the doctor has? Do you want a young doctor or more experienced doctor? Does it matter if your doctor has children?
3. Go meet the doctors. Our pediatrician’s office allows you to come in for a free consultation to meet the doctor and ask questions. We ended up interviewing two doctors because we decided to keep looking after we met the first doctor. His personality didn’t jive with ours, so we decided to meet with one more. How do you feel about the doctor’s office? Is it clean enough for you? What does it seem like the wait time is like? Do you like the staff? These are the people you’ll be calling when your child is sick. How long does it take to get an appointment? And is there an after hours service available? All of these things were important questions for us. Our pediatrician’s office wasn’t in the best shape when we started going there, but there was the promise of building a new office, which has been amazing!
4. Ask questions about vaccinations, parenting philosophies, etc. Ask the questions that are important to you. We ultimately settled on a young, female pediatrician who has small children. I was impressed with her years of experience, but also felt like I’d be able to relate to her and her to me. And I hoped she’d be able to give me advice about sleepless nights and immunizations based on the decisions she made as a parent, not just a doctor. Maybe you want to ask about immunization schedules or breast feeding vs. formula feeding or how and when to start table food and vitamins.
5. Google them. Read about them on the website and see what his or her bio says. You may care about where they went to medical school and college. And it’s important to know that they are board certified. In the end, we wanted to choose a pediatrician that we could trust. It was also very important for me to be able to communicate. I wanted to be able to ask for her advice without feeling like she would talk down to me or judge me.
What would you add to the list? How did you choose your pediatrician?
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