Most parents chose a pediatrician for their child before the baby is even born. For first time parents this decision can be confusing. The majority of parents end up switching pediatricians a couple times at least before they find one that they are comfortable with. Prepare yourself before making your first decision and you may avoid having to switch which can be a hassle and also upsetting to your child.
The first aspect you have to consider is the pediatrician’s demeanor and bedside manner. A good pediatrician will be warm and friendly – it’s difficult to get a child to cooperate or settle down when they don’t feel comfortable with the person examining them. It’s important that your pediatrician shares similar views as you on the things that you find most important. Additionally, they should have an open mind towards differing opinions and respect your thoughts and opinions.
The office and staff is just as important to consider when making your decision. Since you will be dealing with the receptionists, nurses, and medical assistants it is imperative that you consider them in your decision. Talk to the staff to see if they are accommodating and warm. Inquire about how long it takes to get an
appointment for a sick child. Some offices have a difficult time getting kids in quickly which will become very important for you if your baby is sick. Ask who you talk to when you call with a question – in some offices you can talk immediately with a nurse and in some you leave a message for someone to call you back later. Deciding which system you feel most comfortable with will save frustration later.
Many parents find it important for the office to have two separate waiting rooms – one for kids who are sick and one for kids who are not. Since illnesses are passed so easily from child to child it is nice to avoid these germs when coming in for a well-child checkup.
Set up an interview, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make the best decision you can with the information you have. Your child’s pediatrician will be a big part of those early years so it is important that you and your child feel comfortable with them.
Some sample questions are:
- What is your philosophy about child rearing?
- Who covers the practice when you are out of town?
- Do you have a 24 hour hotline and a nurse practitioner on call for emergency advice?
- What is your policy on minor emergency visits without an appointment?
- What vaccinations do they recommend and what is the schedule?
- How do they feel about listening to parents about their children’s condition? Mommy knows best or they are the professionals?
- Cost and what insurance coverage is accepted?
- If you wanting to use holistic solutions, how does the pediatrician view this? How do they feel about breastfeeding?