How to Find a Good Pediatrician
Wondering how to find a good pediatrician for baby? First and foremost: Ask around. Good old-fashioned of word of mouth is probably the best way to find a great doctor. No matter what medical school a pediatrician graduated from, it really all boils down to patients’ reports. You can’t go wrong by asking your friends and family for advice in this department—you’ll be sure to get an honest answer and a valued recommendation from someone.
Also try calling up your insurance company to get a list of doctors in your area that accept your plan. Once you’ve got a list of possible candidates, verify that your top choices are members of the American Academy of Pediatrics. That means they’ll be up to date on the latest developments in child health
Before you start making some phone calls and setting up consultations (don’t worry, they’re usually free), check out our Interviewing a Pediatrician Checklist. Some things to consider: What are their hours? Is the waiting room kid-friendly? Do they have any sub-specialties? Do their views on bottlefeeing or vaccinations align with yours? A round of interviews will weed the bad ones from the good, and you should have yourself a good doctor in no time.
And don’t stress too much about it! It’s easy to get worked up about all the details and decision leading up to baby’s arrival, but keep in mind that nothing is irreversible. If it turns out later that the pediatrician you picked isn’t quite working out, you’ll simply find a new one and move on.
Here’s how other Bumpies made the final decision on their own pediatricians: “We wanted a clinic that had more than one doctor, that was affiliated with good hospitals in the area, and that had emergency hours and after-hours lines. We also went with a man because we hope that he will be our pediatrician for our son’s entire childhood.”
Shopping for a Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician can be daunting. Here are tips to find the right doctor for you and your baby
Experts say it’s a good idea to actively look for a pediatrician who is not only competent but is agreeable to you. After all, this person will be your healthcare soulmate — the one who will patiently answer when your little one has a high fever and won’t stop crying. You’ll need to feel comfortable enough with this doctor to discuss your kid’s ailments, immunizations, thumb sucking, bed-wetting, and developmental changes during puberty.
Check a Pediatrician’s Credentials
The best time to start searching for a pediatrician is in the last few weeks before your expected due date, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Families that move or change insurance are encouraged to find a doctor well before the child needs a checkup or becomes sick
Do the Footwork to Find a Pediatrician
During her eighth month of pregnancy, Lilybell Nakamura wanted to find a pediatrician she felt comfortable with, who was accessible for checkups and emergency visits. So the 29-year-old human resources professional made appointments to talk with several doctors.
Assess Your Feelings About a Pediatrician
The bond between the parent and pediatrician is a critical one. A doctor may be well-qualified, but experts say if a parent doesn’t have confidence in the physician, it may affect the welfare of the child
How to Choose the Best Pediatrician for Your Child
Parents seem to go to a lot of different extremes when choosing a pediatrician. Some do almost nothing and simply choose the pediatrician on call in the hospital when their baby is born or pick a doctor randomly from a list in the phone book or their insurance directory
The Importance of Choosing a Pediatrician
Choosing the right pediatrician is more important than most parents think. While you can simply change doctors if you don’t like the first pediatrician you see, if your newborn or older child is truly sick, the first doctor you see could be making life-changing decisions about your child. Or they could miss a potentially life-threatening problem.
A common way for parents to choose a pediatrician is to get a recommendation from their friends or family members. This is probably one of the best ways, but when someone tells you that they love going to their pediatrician, be sure to ask why before you blindly follow them to the same office
Choosing a Pediatrician
Although we like to think that things like cost and convenience should be secondary when making such an important decision, they can be very important when choosing a pediatrician. If the pediatrician you would like to see is not on your insurance plan or is an hour away, it may not be very practical to go to her office
Although you can typically narrow down your choice of pediatricians by figuring out who is on your insurance plan and in your area, who is accepting new patients and getting some recommendations from friends and family, the best way to find a good pediatrician is to actually set up an appointment and meet with a few
Steps to Picking the Best Pediatrician
Find someone you’re comfortable talking to.
“As a physician and a parent, I think the most important component in choosing a pediatrician, or any physician for that matter, is the level of comfort you have with the physician. One of the most important relationship one will have in life is the physician – patient ( parent) relationship. In today’s ever-expanding digital world, there is still the need for humanism in this relationship.”
“I think board certification and education go without saying. More importantly to me I recommend that patients get personal recommendations, so looking for personal experiences online from other parents is very important.”
Focus on the staff.
“As a nurse for 8 years and a dad of two young daughters, I know the frustrations of finding a great pediatrician. My go-to list for finding someone great has always been to first make sure they understand our insurance because nothing is more annoying than having them bill your insurance wrong every time. You are hiring the staff as much as you are hiring the doctor.”
Choose a prevention-focused doctor.
“Does the Pediatrician practice prevention? The old model where you waited until the child was sick to seek medical care no longer applies. You need a Pediatrician who believe that a child doesn’t have to be sick to get better.”
Make sure their philosophy lines up with yours.
Determine if a pediatrician’s tenants of care are in alignment with your own, including philosophy of care, emergency procedures, conveniences and supportive or supplemental treatment options in the case of the primary doctor’s absence.
Ways to Find a Good Pediatrician You Can Trust
Your gut instinct feels good
A parent’s instinct should not be ignored, and may even be the best way to make important decisions when it comes to your children. No one knows your child the way that you do, and if you feel good about a decision regarding his care, then trust yourself. Everyone has heard the stories about parents saving their children based on instinct alone, that simple gut feeling that you get when something just isn’t right. So if you’re feeling good about your child’s physician, chances are that you’ve made a good choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you consider how you feel during an appointment: rushed and hurried, or as though the doctor is genuinely concerned about your child’s health? Examine the way you feel about the care you received after a visit as well. Do you feel at peace with the decisions made, and like your concerns were considered to be valid? Choosing a doctor for your child and yourself can sometimes feel a bit like any other relationship: it either clicks or it doesn’t. This is not the time to settle. If it doesn’t feel like there’s a connection and understanding about your wishes for your child’s care, it might be time to move on
You feel comfortable enough to tell her your biggest health worries for your child
Every parent worries about their child’s health. It starts as soon as they’re born. Are they eating enough? Pooping enough? Breathing correctly? For first-time parents these fears can feel magnified, as every day with their newborn is uncharted territory. Having a physician who understands this, and can sympathize, is invaluable. You need to find someone that takes each of your concerns seriously, even if you must preface them with, “I know this sounds crazy but…” A parent should never feel like they cannot bring up an issue with a pediatrician for fear of seeming paranoid, over-protective, or annoying. This is a non-negotiable issue that directly affects the health of your child. Your child needs an advocate who isn’t afraid or intimidated to ask every question necessary concerning her health. Find a pediatrician that hears your concerns, validates them, and then puts them to rest
You trust him to tell you the truth
If you know without a doubt that your pediatrician is always truthful with you, even when it isn’t what you want to hear, that is a very good thing. When a child’s health is at stake, there is no room for sugar-coating. This doesn’t mean that he delivers bad news with a harsh tone or attitude, but rather that the information is given in its entirety. Dr. Spitalnick says, “You know you’ve got a good pediatrician when he is willing to admit he doesn’t automatically know the diagnosis to an illness, but he can explain what steps they will take to help you find out. It may take lab work, a call to a sub-specialist, or simple follow up as an illness evolves, but a great pediatrician is willing to admit there is more than one possible reason you are sick, and understand the process needed to narrow down the answer.” You should never leave an appointment wondering if there were other tests that could have or should have been performed to help diagnose your child. Your pediatrician should also offer you any and all information you request about a diagnosis, and be willing to go the extra step to provide other recommendations of resources such as helpful books or websites
She returns your calls
Not every illness requires a visit to the doctor, and sometimes a simple question about medicine or care can be answered with a quick phone call. If your pediatrician understands this and returns your calls promptly, it can make life with little ones at home much easier. Moms and dads that place requests for their child’s doctor to return a call should also be prepared for the possibility that a visit is recommended by front office staff. This should be taken seriously, as they are properly trained to determine when a child needs to be seen and a phone call will not suffice. Having trust in not only the physician you have chosen, but also in the ability of the front office staff to ensure your child receives prompt and considerate care is key. While awaiting a call back from the doctor, have questions to ask a pediatrician ready, so that nothing is forgotten. Dr. Spitalnick says, “You know you’ve got a great pediatrician, when you feel you can reach her when you need her. If you know your pediatrician’s office has access seven days a week then you can expect consistency; as opposed to using urgent care centers for sick visits.” When interviewing physicians, one of the questions to ask a pediatrician is what their call return policy entails.