Picking a pediatrician for your child can be a lengthy process. Your might not know where to start, let alone what to look for. When to start is also an important factor when it comes to choosing a medical professional to care for your baby for the next 21 years.
Pediatricians are medical doctors that are experts in children’s illnesses. They might possibly do work in other areas such as neonatal medicine or cardiology. They specialize in caring for infants, children, and adolescents up to age 21.
You will want to find someone whom you think will be a good fit for the first part of your child’s life. There are many criteria that you should keep in mind when conducting your search. One of the main things is to find someone that you click with. Being comfortable letting your doctor work with your baby is paramount.
1. When to start
You should start looking for a pediatrician when you are still pregnant. It may not seem like something that needs to be done so soon, but sooner is better than later in this case. You will have to go through a long process of researching and interviewing prospective doctors.
The best time for pediatrician searching is around 28 or 34 weeks of pregnancy. You will want to have plenty of time for research and to meet the prospective doctors. This is good because you will have a better idea of what you are looking for in a pediatrician.
Since your choice of pediatrician is a long commitment, it is crucial to find someone that you feel comfortable with and can trust. The relationship between you and your baby’s doctor is an important one. You do not want to be jumping from doctor to doctor.
The first six months of your child’s life should definitely be with the same physician. Research has shown that a child gets a complete testing and necessary immunizations when dealing with the same doctor. You do not want anything to get lost in the process of switching doctors.
2. Looking for doctors
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a referral site that has the names of many pediatricians all across the country. Your obstetrician may also have some suggestions for you. You should choose at least three, if not more, to make sure that there is a good variety. You could very possibly decide that none of them will work, and a longer list will delay or prevent this from happening.
Ask your friends, too. If they have children, they probably have a preferred pediatrician. Not every doctor is right for each parent, but it is better than not having anything to work with.
Another important factor in your pediatrician search is the location of the office. You will want somewhere relatively close. Since you will be traveling back and forth quite frequently, distance is very relevant.
Your insurance company should cover the doctors you are looking at. If one is not on the list that you like, call the insurance company. It might be that they are new to the practice, and the list just has not been updated.
3. Meeting doctors
When you have tailored a list down to a few doctors, it’s time to meet with them. A prenatal visit is a good way to get the gist of how your prospective pediatrician works. Be sure to ask relevant questions. The answers the pediatrician give should be acceptable. Think about how you feel about certain answers so you can have the proper reaction.
Questions that you think you are supposed to ask may not be the right ones. Asking about their education can seem like you are trying to find something to dislike about them. Essential questions, such as their availability, should not be ignored.
Figuring out which hospital they are associated with is a good thing to do. It should be a hospital that is convenient to you or highly regarded. Whichever is more important to you is of course what you are looking for.
Other questions about their philosophies regarding things like breastfeeding and discipline are okay if you want to ask. Having someone who will not judge you based on your personal decisions is an ideal situation.
4. Evaluate each prospect
Now it is time to look at all of your choices. Someone may feel particularly impressive or not so great. Go with your gut on this. Your comfort level with the doctor should be the primary deciding factor.
You can evaluate how they do their work during your prenatal visit. Their technique and ways of going about things is a good example of how they are going to be with your baby. You will also want to ask about how they deal with emergencies. Something is bound to happen that will prompt you to bring your child in for an urgent visit.
The office and staff of each practitioner that you look at should be clean and kid-friendly. Scope out wait times and the staff, ensuring that everything will be appropriate and comfortable for you and your baby.
When it is time to deliver your baby, the hospital should ask for your doctor’s name. This is how they find out that you are having your baby. After delivery, the pediatrician at the hospital will be looking after your child during your stay. This can be with the doctor you chose or not. It really depends on how things work around there.
If you do not end up liking your pediatrician, talking to them should be your first step. Often it is easy to clear up any misunderstandings. Expressing any discomfort that you have will allow them to make any changes if they are willing.
Do not be afraid to switch. However, your child should be with someone both of you are comfortable with. When choosing a new one, keep in mind what you liked and did not like about the previous one. Using this information can help you find the perfect pediatrician for you.