Finding a pediatrician is one of those big decisions that must be made as a new parent. It’s a major responsibility to find someone that is capable and makes you feel comfortable. It takes researching and interviewing to find a perfect match for you and your family.
The best place to start when looking for a pediatrician is your pool of friends and family. Ask for recommendations. When someone does make a recommendation make sure to ask the person what it is that they like about that particular doctor. Getting specifics will help you narrow down your list of potential doctors. For example, your friend mentions that their pediatrician gets them in and out of the office quickly but you’re looking for someone that takes their time and doesn’t make you feel rushed.
If you’re new to the area and don’t have friends and family to ask visit HealthyChild.org (powered by American Academy of Pediatrics). On this website you will find a tool to help you find a pediatrician along with other valuable information including the best questions to ask as you interview doctors. They also provide articles on Healthy Living, Safety and Prevention and Health Issues. Another great option for a pediatric referral is to ask your obstetrician. He or she will have worked with numerous pediatrician and be able to refer you to several candidates.
The search for a pediatrician should start about three months before your baby is due. This allows you ample time to find the right doctor. The hospital where you deliver will ask you for your pediatrician’s information. Shortly after your baby is born the hospital will notify your pediatrician of the birth. One question to ask a potential pediatrician is whether he will visit your baby in the hospital after you have given birth.
One of the questions at the top of my list when interviewing pediatricians was: What are your office hours? It was important to me that the office have evening and Saturday appointments. Additionally, I wanted to make sure there was a doctor on call in case of an after hour emergency. Because the extended hours and doctor on call options were high priorities for me, I knew I wanted a group and not a sole practitioner. If you desire the same doctor at each appointment you will want to look in to a doctor with his own practice.
Selecting your child’s pediatrician is a huge responsibility but not a permanent one. Make your best, most informed decision but if after several visits you are not confident that your selection was correct begin your search again. Settling is not an option when it comes to the care of your little ones. Be sure to visit the American Academy of Pediatrics and their HealthyChild.org site for more information on selecting the best care of your child.