Finding a Pediatrician (updated June 2022)

Finding a Pediatrician

When should I begin finding a pediatrician?

If you don’t already have a pediatrician for your baby, it’s a good idea to start looking for a pediatrician during pregnancy. Give yourself a few weeks to a few months. This allows you sufficient time to make a well informed decision.

What is the difference between a family doctor and a pediatrician?

While both family doctors and pediatricians will have trained for the same number of years, a pediatrician specializes in children from birth to age 21.

How do I find a good pediatrician?

Firstly, you may start by asking friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and associates with children for recommendations. It’s a great idea to ask people who share your parenting philosophies and lifestyle. Some expecting parents will crowd source for recommendations on social media or in online parenting groups. Next, you may also ask your obstetrician, midwife, birth doula or postpartum doula and other professional contacts for recommendations. To support our clients, the team at Buddha Belly keeps a list of pediatricians that we recommend. Referrals to certified practitioners are also offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on its website.

Then, when you get referrals, ask more questions to learn about the possible candidates.

Things to ask and consider when compiling your list of possible pediatricians:

  • Location
  • Office hours and schedules
  • How long do they usually have to wait?
  • How does their child respond to the doctor?
  • Does the doctor take time to discuss issues and listen to your concerns?
  • Does the doctor welcome questions?
  • Are they accepting new patients?
  • Do they accept patients that are giving birth at your birth location of choice?
  • Does this pediatrician come to your hospital to examine your baby before you are discharged?
  • Do they take your insurance or have a payment option that works for you?
  • Is the doctor affiliated with a specific local pediatric hospital?

Now it’s time to make appointments with the top prospects to visit them at their offices. In fact, many pediatrician offices will allow you to interview the doctor to get to know them and their practices, although some practices charge for it. It is possible that your insurance will cover this meeting.

How do I interview a pediatrician?

We recommend just being open with them about what is important to you and asking them questions to find out if it is a good fit. You are hiring a professional to provide excellent care for your baby. If your baby has any special medical conditions look for somebody with training and experience in that area, of course.

Here are some things to consider while searching for a pediatrician:

  • What are their policies, practices and views regarding: vaccinations, medications, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, circumcision, alternative or complementary medicine, co-sleeping, single parenting, daycare, attachment parenting, travel, etc.?
  • Are they supportive of your preferences on these matters?
  • Do they allow parents to call with questions?
  • Are questions answered via email?
  • Do they provide assistance and care after-hours or send you to an urgent care clinic? Is the staff warm and helpful?
  • Does the doctor have a good bedside manner?
  • Does she offer you choices and let you decide what is best for you and your baby or does she give you very clear instructions? What is your preference?
  • How are appointments handled for children who are sick?
  • Is it likely your child will be able to see his own doctor?
  • How long does it take to get a routine appointment, such as a regular check-up or non-emergency visit?
  • What is their protocol if your child needs a specialist?

Things to look for in the waiting room and at the initial appointment or interview: 

  • Cleanliness.
  • Are they child friendly?
  • How does the office team interact with patients as they enter the facility and over the phone?
Once you’ve interviewed your top prospects hopefully you’ll be able to settle on a pediatrician that is a good fit for your family.
We hope these tips have helped you on your way to finding a pediatrician that you feel very comfortable with. Good luck!

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading

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