Choosing the right pediatrician for your child is something important all parents need to do. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially considering how important this decision will be for you and the baby. A pediatrician is someone you and your child will share a long-term relationship with, which is why choosing the right one is essential. These 6 tips for choosing a pediatrician for your child will help you lay the groundwork, making your decision that much easier.
1. Get A Recommendation Or Referral
Often, word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to get to know of a pediatrician. Families with good pediatricians will never hesitate to share information about them with you, while families that have had bad experiences will be honest about what went wrong. Ask your own relatives that have babies or kids who they go to, and what helped them narrow down on a pediatrician for their child.
You can also make use of the internet to look up reviews and insights into the practices of pediatricians. There are mobile apps that allow you to browse through a selection of experts to choose from among the best for your baby – one such app with quality pediatricians is the ImmunifyMe app.
Finally, your obstetrician is another person you’ll get very familiar with for the duration of your pregnancy and for a little while after. Feel free to ask them for any recommendations since they’re bound to know of reliable pediatricians.
2. Consider Their Use Of Technology
As parents, you’re going to have a lot of options about ‘what is better for your child’ thrown your way. At the end of the day, you get to make those decisions. One of these is using digital tools to make the job of parenting a little easier. While some of you may prefer to do things the traditional way, some of you may turn to technology as a helping hand. You must make sure that they operate in a way that aligns with your needs when choosing a pediatrician for your child.
There are still some pediatricians who prefer doing things the way they have for years, while others are making the shift to technology. Some pediatricians may make use of apps like ImmunifyMe, which makes coordination easier for both, parents and themselves. You may have to book appointments over calls for some pediatricians, while for others, you can book slots via the app they use. Also, keep in mind that you need a tech-savvy pediatrician if you think you’ll need to use teleconsultations at any point of your parental journey. The use of technology can also help if they have digitized health and immunization records.
3. How Does Their Practice Operate?
Related to the above point is keeping in mind how the pediatrician operates their practice. Ask yourself what you envision yourself needing, and try to choose a pediatrician that functions along those lines. Some questions to consider are:
- Do they allow for same-day or last-minute appointments?
- What are their working hours? Do they match with your daily schedule?
- Are they available on the weekends or in the evenings?
- Do they handle telephonic inquiries?
- Do they offer after-hours care?
- If it is a group practice, will you get to meet with the same preferred pediatrician every time, and if not, how often do you get to see them?
Also, ensure you ask them questions about certain topics that you will have to agree on. These are important aspects of parenting and childcare, so the more in-sync you are on these matters, the better. These aspects include things like breastfeeding, formula feeding, immunization, co-sleeping, antibiotics, and circumcision.
4. Research Their Credentials
As a parent, you want the very best for your child. Understandably, this translates to wanting a certified pediatrician with the ideal qualifications and credentials to treat your child. All pediatricians need to have graduated from a medical school and received their own license to start their practice. You can also take into consideration the number of years of experience they have.
An additional question is whether they’ve only worked as a private practitioner, or if they have had experience in varied healthcare settings like group practices, hospitals, urgent care, or emergencies. An important aspect is if the pediatrician has had experience in dealing with special needs children, especially for parents of these children. The more experience they have, the more you can rely on them.
5. Go On An Introductory Visit
Don’t hesitate to go on an introductory visit when choosing a pediatrician for your child. More importantly, try to take your little one with you. Several parents tend to narrow down on a pediatrician about three weeks before delivery. Some offices and practices may still offer you the chance to meet with the pediatrician, and tour the office. But taking your little one with you once they arrive earth-side can help you get a better insight into whether the pediatrician is suited for your child or not. This initial visit can truly help you cement or change your decision.
At the visit, observe the pediatrician’s behavior. Are they easy to speak to? Do they listen patiently to any of your concerns, and answer any questions you may have? A pediatrician who doesn’t dismiss your new-parent concerns, and who shows genuine interest in your baby and their wellbeing, is one you can trust. It can also help to watch the way your baby reacts to the pediatrician.
Nonetheless, listen to your gut instinct. You and your partner need to have felt comfortable and heard, and shouldn’t feel like you’ll have a hard time communicating with the pediatrician. This doctor will come to know of your family’s health history, will be in charge of your baby’s immunizations, and much more. It is crucial that you go with a pediatrician you can rely on, and one whom you like and trust.
6. Consider The Location
A pediatrician doesn’t just treat babies; they also care for adolescents up until the age of 18. This is where that long-term association comes in. More so, you and your baby will be paying the pediatrician a visit several times during the first year of your baby’s life, once nearly every 2 to 3 months. This is why you need to consider the location of the pediatrician’s office or practice when choosing them.
Choosing a pediatrician that is close to your home can be convenient for you, especially if you’re ever in a rush to see them. If you don’t have a vehicle of your own, you may want to go with a pediatrician that can be easily accessed by public transportation.
Choosing a pediatrician for your child ultimately rests entirely on you, as will so many more decisions. Parenting can certainly be overwhelming, which is why you should consider downloading an app that can help you handle it. Digitized vaccination records, an easy way to book appointment slots with expert pediatricians, and telemedicine – these are just some of the many benefits at your fingertips.
FAQs On Choosing A Pediatrician For Your Child
How Do I Find The Right Pediatrician?
Finding the right pediatrician can start with a process of reviews and referrals, especially from your own family members. Look up pediatricians on the internet and pick those that are easy for you to get to, and that have good reviews from other parents.
When Should You Pick A Pediatrician?
You should ideally pick a pediatrician about 3 weeks before your due date. This ensures that you don’t need to go rushing around or make a hasty decision once your baby is born.
What Should Parents Look For In A Pediatrician?
Parents should go with a pediatrician who has significant experience and the backing of other parents. They should be easy to talk to, and someone you can trust. Also ensure that they agree with you on certain essential topics like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc.
What Questions Should I Ask A New Pediatrician?
Some of the questions you can ask a new pediatrician are:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Are you part of a group practice?
- How long does a typical check-up last?
- What are your office hours?
- Do you support telemedicine?
- How are emergencies handled?