It is important to choose a pediatrician before your new baby arrives. Finding a pediatrician is not the easiest thing to do. There are several pediatricians to choose from who are all “committed to helping parents raise healthy children with the greatest possible ease, comfort, pleasure, and success” (Shelov & Pediatrics, 2005). Keep in mind that different pediatricians have different approaches so finding the one that fits your family’s needs is essential. A good way of finding out is to visit each pediatrician and determine which one is best for your family. Preferably this should be done before the baby arrives. A recent study found that babies who see the same doctor for their first six months are up to twice as likely to receive important health tests before they turn 2 (Hunt, 2012).
Listed below are some helpful tips you can use when you start looking for a pediatrician:
· Make sure the pediatrician is licensed to practice. If you see the initials FAAP after a pediatrician’s name, it means they have passed the board exam and is a full fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and they are board certified. These initials can be found on their certificate that is usually posted somewhere in their office.
· Start by asking other parents you know and trust if they recommend anyone. Your obstetrician can also be someone you turn to for advice. Obstetricians will know local pediatricians that are respected within the medical community. You can also ask for a list of local pediatricians by going to the hospital or visiting the hospitals website.
· Once you have a list of several pediatricians you wish to consider, contact them and arrange an interview. The front desk staff will be able to answer general questions you may have. Save the more in depth questions for the pediatrician. Here are some questions you can ask:
o How soon after birth will the pediatrician see your baby?
o When will your baby’s next exams take place?
o When is the doctor available? By phone, email?
o What hospital does the doctor prefer to use?
o What happens if there is an emergency?
o Who covers the office when pediatrician is unavailable?
o How many checkups and immunizations does your baby need?
o What are the costs of care?
· After you have completed the interview process decide which pediatrician made you feel comfortable, if you are comfortable with their philosophy, policies, and practice. Most importantly do you feel you can trust them? You should also feel comfortable with the pediatrician’s staff.
I know that finding a pediatrician can be overwhelming. Just remember you are not trying to find the best pediatrician in the world instead you are trying to find a pediatrician that you feel comfortable with and that you trust. I hope that this information will help you when you start to look for your baby’s pediatrician.
Hunt, K. (2012). How to select a pediatrician. Retrieved from www.parents.com
Shelov, S. P., & Pediatrics, A. A. O. (2005). Caring for your baby and young child, birth to age 5. (revised ed.). New York: Bantam.