When should I begin my search for a pediatrician?
How do I find a good pediatrician?
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 groups. You may also ask your obstetrician, midwife, doula and other professional contacts for recommendations. Referrals to certified practitioners are also offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on its HealthyChildren.org website.
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:
- 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?
- Do they take your insurance or have a payment option that works for you?
Make appointments with the top prospects to visit them at their offices. 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?
Consider what questions and topics are the most important to you. You are hiring a professional to provide excellent care for your baby. If your baby has any special medical conditions you will, of course, look for somebody with training and experience in that area.
Here are some things to consider:
- What are their policies, practices and views regarding: vaccinations, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, circumcision, alternative or complementary medicine, co-sleeping, single parenting, daycare, attachment parenting, etc.?
- Are they supportive of different approaches or opinions on these matters?
- Do they allow parents to call with questions?
- Do they answer questions 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 or does she give you very clear instructions and 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?