What To Consider When Picking A Pediatrician:
Choosing a pediatrician is one of the first decisions you make as a parent, but like so many things about having a child, you don’t know what you don’t know. Below we’ve highlighted things you might want to consider when choosing your child's doctor. You will visit your pediatrician often, and a good one is invaluable.
Your child (and you!) will be going to the pediatrician at least 11 times in the first year, so consider the location of the office. And if you’re working, keep in mind that if you get a call that your child is sick, you’ll have to get there from wherever your child care is located.
Does the practice offer auxiliary services that can cut down on the number of places you have to visit? It helps if they can draw blood in the office or have lactation consultants on staff.
Where does the pediatrician have admitting privileges? Is the hospital close to you? It will simplify any medical situation if your pediatrician can visit the hospital closest to your home.
First off: Are they accepting new patients? Practices can fill up quickly, so give potential practices a call and see if they are accepting new patients.
Does the office give you access to a 24-hour nurse hotline? Kids get sick after normal business hours and talking to a nurse on the phone can save you a lengthy, expensive visit to an emergency room.
Do they have extended and/or weekend hours? Sometimes the nurse line isn’t going to be enough and your child will need to see a doctor when sick. It can help if they have appointments after regular business hours and on the weekends, even if they are limited.
Do they take your insurance? A quick call to the front desk can answer that question quickly, as well as tell you what any co-payments may be required.
If not, ask if they accept out-of-pocket payments and for cost estimates.
Check to see if the pediatricians are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. This is a credential that doctors get in addition to a medical degree.
Consider your parenting style and seek a doctor who matches that. Pediatricians are essentially parenting coaches during the newborn phase. You’ll be relying on them for guidance and information on everything from what your baby eats to how much they sleep to whether that spit-up is normal or not. You’ll want to understand their parenting philosophy and make sure it’s a good fit.
Ask if you can take a tour of the office before your child is born and talk to the staff. Do they take the time to talk to you and answer your questions? Is the pediatrician more proactive or more laid-back?