How to Choose a Pediatrician
Your little one is on the way, and one main part of the preparation is choosing a pediatrician. Try to look for a pediatrician a few months before you expect your little one, so ensure you have a spot at the practice and are all set to move forward once the baby is born. So, how do you choose a pediatrician you’ll like and trust? Let's get into it.
What is a Pediatrician?
A pedestrian is a doctor who has additional schooling and experience in pediatric (child) health. Your child can see the same pediatrician until they are about 18 years old. Pediatricians specialize in the physical, behavioral, and mental health of children. They see your child regularly, make health recommendations, diagnose and treat illnesses, provide immunizations, and more.
Choosing a Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician can be an involved process, and is unique to your families wants and needs.
Consider the following when choosing a physician:
- Insurance coverage: Does the practice accept your insurance?
- Practice location: Is the practice location convenient?
- Availability: Is the practice accepting new patients?
- Recommendations: Do trusted friends or family recommend the pediatrician? Similarly, are there positive reviews online?
- Credentials and experience: Is the pediatrician properly credentialed? How long have they been practicing?
- Office logistics: Do you like the office setting? Are same-day appointments allowed?
These are just a few factors when considering the best pediatrician for your little one. It is also advisable to have an introductory appointment to get to know the doctor's personality and practices, and if they interact well with your baby.
Questions to Ask
An introductory appointment is a great way to meet the doctor before signing on as a patient. Some questions to ask to get to know the doctor and practice include the following.
- How long have you been practicing? What are your credentials and training?
- Are you a member of the American Academy of Pediatricians?
- Do you have sub-specialties?
- What is your childcare philosophy?
- What are your views on vaccines, antibiotics, alternative medicine, bottle feeding, and other topics you care about?
- What are your expectations for me?
- Are you available every day of the week?
- Will we see you primarily?
- Do you do telephone consultations?
- Why do you recommend your practice?
These are just a few questions to ask in your introductory appointment. Don’t forget, you can meet your doctor and discuss these questions before your baby has made her debut!
If you’re not comfortable with the doctor's answers, move on to the next pediatrician.
What to Expect
Choosing a pediatrician can feel like a big decision, but find comfort in knowing you can find great pediatricians, and you’re free to change anytime.
Expect to look around at different offices, and take into account multiple factors, including insurance, location, philosophy, and personalities.
You may get started looking for a pediatrician early (3+ months before the due date) and meet with them before your baby comes as well. Typically, your baby will have their first check-up at the hospital within 24 hours of their birth. Some pediatricians do this, and other times a pediatrician affiliated with the hospital will do this preliminary check up, followed by your pediatrician seeing your baby in about a week from then.
You can expect a handful of paperwork to be completed prior to the appointment. You’ll likely start with a nurse at the appointment, followed by the doctor.
You can expect the following:
- Measuring the baby length, head circumference, and weight.
- Review of the birth chart
- Discussing sleep and feeding schedules
- Head to toe examination
Feel free to ask questions and address any concerns you have at this appointment.
Your Pediatrician is Here to Help
While picking a pediatrician can feel daunting, at the end of the day, they are an essential team member, and are there to ensure your baby is on the right track with health and development. Choose a pediatrician you find most compliments you and your little ones needs, and don’t be afraid to look around before making your decision.