One of the most important aspects of preparing for your child’s birth is choosing their pediatrician. This is a decision that you shouldn’t make lightly. Give yourself plenty of time to research and interview multiple doctors before making your choice. This decision isn’t just about choosing a doctor who is a capable of caring for your child. Although, that is a very important aspect. It’s also about finding a doctor whose personality meshes well with your family. Find a doctor who you connect with and feel comfortable around. After all, this doctor will be a part of your family’s life for years to come. You’ll want to make sure they are the perfect fit. Here are 7 questions that you should consider to get you started.
Who does your family and friends recommend? – The best place to start when choosing your pediatrician is with recommendations. I tend to avoid online and reviews and recommendations when I start looking. I prefer to reach out to parents I know and trust. The best place to start is with your friends and family. Ask them who they used for their kids and why they liked them. The list you get from your friends and family makes a great jumping off point for doctors to interview.
Are they in network with your insurance provider? – You will see your child’s pediatrician more than any other doctor you have. The expense of all of those visits can really pile up if you choose to go out of network. That’s why the first thing you should do when choosing a provider is to make sure they are in network. There are two different ways you can do this. You can call each office you are considering to see if they accept your insurance. You can also reach out to your insurance company for a list of all providers in your area that they are in network with. Both of these are quick and efficient options.
Do they have separate sick and well child waiting areas? Your child will have scheduled well visits throughout their adolescence. However, there will also be times that you will need to take them in for a sickness. Many parents find it important to have a separate waiting area for the well visits. This helps reduce their exposure to germs and the risk of getting sick. Some offices have separate waiting rooms. Other offices simply split a waiting room in half. However, some offices may not separate at all. Take the time to decide how important this issue is to you. Then, evaluate the options each office provides before making your decision.
What hours is the clinic open? – You will want to find a clinic whose hours match with your availability. Will you have to take off of work to take them to a doctors appointment? Some offices stay open past the typical 8-5 to accommodate working parents. Is the office open on Saturdays or Sundays for sick visits? If so, this can be a great benefit to parents. This way if your child is ill on a weekend you don’t have to pay the money for an urgent care clinic. Be sure to look around at all of your options.
What happens if your child gets sick after hours? Children tend to get sick at the most inconvenient time. It seems they always seem to choose a time when you can’t get them into a doctor. They specifically like to choose evenings and weekends. Situations like these can leave parents in a tough spot. However, many clinics offer an alternative solution to children who get sick after hours. Some partner with a hospital that you can call to speak to a nurse. Others offer evening or weekend hours to accommodate sick children. Take the time to find an office that goes above and beyond their 8-5 hours to take care of sick children. It’s definitely worth it when you do.
Do they share the same parenting views as you? – The pediatrician you choose doesn’t have to share the same views as you, but it does make life a whole lot easier. When interviewing pediatricians be sure to ask them about their stance on some of the controversial parenting topics. How do they feel about alternative vaccination schedules, co-sleeping, breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, baby led weaning, circumcision, and more? Do their views match up with yours? If they don’t, are they at least open to discussing these topics with you? You’ll want to find a doctor who supports your position as the parent. They can educate you and give their opinion. However, at the end of the day they should support your decision.
How do they interact with you and your child? – Many doctors choose to go into pediatrics because they love children. However, that doesn’t mean that they will all interact with your child the same. After all, they aren’t robots they are human. Some will be more silly and fun. Others may be more serious and professional. There isn’t anything wrong with either of these personalities, but you do need to choose which one you are more comfortable with.