Choosing the right pediatrician for your baby can be a daunting task. It can be difficult for many parents to decide on the right pediatrician and many of them are unsure of what sets one pediatrician apart from another one. When you are choosing a pediatrician, you must remember that most doctors chose this profession because they enjoy being around children. They want to keep children healthy and they want to see them grow strong. If you do not have a pediatrician chosen by the time your baby is born, the hospital will assign one to you. This does not mean you have to use this pediatrician each time your child needs to go in for their well-baby checkups.
The best way to choose a pediatrician is to select one before your baby arrives. This will give you time to interview with several pediatricians and choose one that you feel comfortable with. You need to feel comfortable with the pediatrician and they need to be receptive and responsive to your questions and concerns. The pediatrician should be able to provide you with their educational history and share personal reasons about why they became a pediatrician. You should feel like you can carry on a conversation with them and they should talk to you, not at you.
You can select a random name from the phone book or you can choose one based on referrals. Contact your insurance provider or the hospital and schedule a phone interview or personal interview with the pediatrician. Several OB/GYN's will recommend pediatricians to their patients.
Every insurance company has a list of covered providers. If you select a pediatrician that is not on their list, they will not pay for any services charged to you. Contacting your insurance company will save you a lot of time and headaches and it helps to narrow down your list of pediatricians. Talk to staff members at your local clinic. Ask the nurses and staff members who they recommend. They can provide you with an honest response, especially if they have worked with them in the past. They assess their skills on a daily basis and will let you know how the doctor communicates with their patients and how they interact with others.
There are several web sites and books that can point you in the direction of finding a good pediatrician. They provide lists of different questions you need to ask the pediatrician and they will help you evaluate pediatricians. You should always find out about the pediatricians bedside manner before you select one. Make sure the doctor has a fondness for children and really listens to your questions and concerns.
If you are taking childbirth classes, ask the fellow students who they have selected. You can even talk to the instructor. They will have a list of pediatricians that practice at the hospital and they probably have worked with them in the past, so they will be able to let you know about their personality and their interaction with their patients.
Another way to find a good pediatrician is to spend time in the waiting room. Observe the parents that go to that doctor and talk to them about the doctor. Find out how long their children have been seeing the pediatrician and if their children feel comfortable with the doctor. Also look for additional things like friendly staff members, office cleanliness, televisions, toys, and other entertainment things.
A pediatrician will be a graduate of a 4 year medical school plus 3 additional residency training years. This means that they not only graduated from medical school, but that they spent 3 additional years under supervised training. During these years, they will acquire new skills that help to broaden their education in neonatal care, child cardiology, and other areas. The pediatrician also needs to be certified by the American Board of Pediatrics or the American Board of Family Practice.
Contact the pediatrician's office and schedule a prenatal interview. Let the receptionist know that you are trying to find a pediatrician and you would like to spend some time talking to the doctor. Generally, the doctor's office will allot 15-20 minutes for interviews. You will be able to talk to the pediatrician and ask them several questions. They will tell you about their education and experiences. Normally pediatricians do not charge for interviews, but you should ask the receptionist before you make the appointment.
Some important things to discuss with the pediatrician are hospital affiliations, emergencies, office visits, health care questions, and staff member questions. If you are meeting with a pediatrician that is working from a clinic, ask them if they will be able to come to the hospital to check on your baby when they are born or if they have affiliate staff members that will come and check on your baby. If you do not want other pediatricians to check on your baby, you will need to make your request known to the hospital staff. Sometimes the pediatrician will need to send an affiliate doctor because they are on vacation or unable to come to the hospital. Seek a pediatrician that is associated with the hospital where you plan to give birth.
You also need to talk about the office equipment the pediatrician is using. Ask them how new their equipment is and how often they receive inspections. Observe the rooms and make sure they are kept clean and sanitary. You should always feel comfortable and safe in the office. There should also be books or things in the room that can entertain your child while you wait for the doctor. Choose a pediatrician that is relatively close to your home. You may need to rush them to the doctor when they are sick and having the pediatrician close will be helpful. Also look around the exterior of the office to make sure there is adequate parking space.
Discuss the appointment schedule with your pediatrician. Ask them what their policy is on after-hour and emergency visits. Some pediatricians may work later hours or weekends to accommodate their patient's schedules. Find out if they offer early morning visits too, since these can be helpful for working parents. You also need to talk to the doctor about a 24-hour helpline you can contact if you need to reach your pediatrician. The pediatrician may be affiliated with a team of doctors and they may rotate on-call assignments. You also need to find out if they offer emergency appointments if your child is sick.
Ask the pediatrician how long they plan to spend with each patient. Make sure they leave enough time for all your questions to be answered and find out if they offer take-home materials that you can read. Ask the pediatrician about their staff members. Is the staff office full of trained nurses? Do the nurses interact well with the children? Will any of your appointments be handled by a nurse practitioner? Make sure the staff members seem warm and friendly and willing to answer your questions and help you.
Discuss the doctor's opinion on vaccinations and circumcision. Talk about your decision to breast or bottle feed your baby. Find out if your doctor will be the one performing the circumcision and which type of circumcision they will be performing. Also talk about the time frame for solid foods and what type of solid foods you should start with. Discuss the well-baby checkups and the different things they will be checking for. You should also find out how many well-baby checkups you need and what will happen if your baby suffers from medical problems like autism. You also need to discuss the doctor's views on antibiotics and medications for your baby.
Ask the pediatrician if they have any books or web sites that they recommend. Discuss any concerns you have and health care questions you have. You also need to talk about post-partum depression and their recommendations if you encounter post-partum depression after your baby is born. Ask the doctor about their educational and professional background. Find out how long they have been in practice and what inspired them to become a pediatrician. You also should ask personal questions like "do you have any children of your own?" Finding out about their personal life may make you feel better about your decision to select them.
You also need to find out what will happen if they go on vacation or take off some time to have a baby of their own. Find out which doctors will be taking on their patients and schedule a time to meet with them as well. You need to be comfortable with any pediatrician that will be dealing with your child's medical needs. You will be seeing this doctor with your child for many years so it is important to take the time to make a good decision. A pediatrician should make you feel comfortable and confident about your decision. They should treat you and your child with respect and kindness. Watch the way they handle babies and other children and it will help you make your decision about your child's pediatrician.