Choosing a pediatrician for your new baby can be a daunting task. You obviously want to make sure that who you pick will be the right person to help you and your baby, but knowing who the right person is isn’t always easy.
It’s easy to think of your pediatrician as just another doctor, but that isn’t the case.
For the first few months of your baby’s life, you will be spending a lot more time with your pediatrician than with any other type of doctor.
You will undoubtedly also have that typical new mom moment of panic when your baby does something weird. Having a pediatrician that you trust and feel comfortable with can make all the difference in how you handle those situations.
When Should You Choose a Pediatrician?
While there certainly isn’t a set-in-stone time frame for choosing a pediatrician, having one picked out before your baby is born can be hugely helpful.
Depending on where you live and the size of the area, you may run into an issue of the office closest to you not taking on new patients because they are overbooked.
It is definitely best to find out important details like that before your baby is born so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly.
You also want to find a pediatrician that has similar views as you do.
If you are opposed to giving antibiotics needlessly and your pediatrician tries to prescribe them at every sniffle, then you’re going to be unhappy and be left trying to find someone else down the road.
It’s best to save yourself the hassle and choose a pediatrician before your baby is born.
Between 28 and 34 weeks is a pretty safe bet.
You’re far enough along at that time to know what you want and what things are important to you as far as care, but not so far that you run the risk of delivering before you make a final decision.
Take your time with it and choose the pediatrician that is right for your family, not just the pediatrician that is the most convenient.
How do I Choose a Pediatrician for My Baby?
There are many deciding factors that come into play when choosing a pediatrician. The best thing that you can do though, is to actually set up a pediatrician interview.
An interview will give you an opportunity to sit down and discuss all of your questions and concerns with your potential pediatrician. It will also give you a chance to meet him or her face-to-face to see how you actually like them.
Most doctors all look the same on paper, but how they actually interact with their patients can vary widely.
An actual meeting can help you get a better idea of whether or not this person will be a good fit for your family.
When preparing for your pediatrician interview, it is best to have a list of questions that you want answered.
Take some time and sit down with your partner to go over what is important to you and what kind of information that you really need to know about.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ll probably forget ever question you had by the time you actually get to the office if you don’t have a list.
Questions to Ask at a Pediatrician Interview
There are many, many question options out there, but here are a few to get you started.
- Are you accepting new patients?
- How long have you been practicing?
- Do you have any sub-specialties?
- Do you offer same-day appointments if my child is sick?
- What about if my child is sick and the office is closed?
- Do you have a separate waiting room for sick children?
- Is this a solo or a group practice?
- Do you respond to questions by email?
- How long does it usually take to return a call if I leave a message?
- What are your views on bottle feeding? Parenting techniques? Circumcisions? Sleep Training? Antibiotics? Childhood Obesity?
- What hospitals do you work with?
- Are there any extra fees such as advice calls, medication refills, filling out forms?
- Do you take my insurance?
- What tests are handled in your office, and what tests are outsourced?
- Is there an online portal where you can make appointments, fill out forms, and view medical records and test results?
- Will you come to the hospital when my baby is born?
- What hospitals are you affiliated with?
- Do you offer early, late, or weekend appointments?
Other Things to Think About
After the interview is over. Take a moment to think back on the things that you saw and felt. If you’re on the fence about anything, then this could really help you make your final decision.
- Was the office clean?
- Were the nurses friendly?
- Is the waiting room kid friendly with books and games?
- Was the office staff helpful?
- Did the doctor seem open to questions or was the interview rushed?
- Was the doctor easy to understand? Did the communication seem natural?
- Did you feel comfortable or intimidated?
- Do you feel like things were explained fully and carefully?
- Is the office in a convenient location? Things like traffic patterns could be a challenge.
- Was the waiting room full? It may be a sign they’re overbooked.
What Should I Look for When Choosing a Pediatrician?
The most important thing to look for when choosing a pediatrician is whether or not you feel comfortable.
If you don’t like the doctor because he or she makes you uncomfortable or because you don’t agree with all of their views, then no amount of experience and reviews will change that.
Your pediatrician will become an integral part of your family unit, make sure that it is someone you’re willing to spend some time with.
What questions do you have about choosing a pediatrician? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!