While each person’s experience of pregnancy and parenthood will be unique, one experience that every parent and parent-to-be is familiar with is frequent doctor appointments.
They continue after the baby is born as well; throughout the first year of her life, you will take her to the pediatrician at least eight times.
In many ways, your baby’s pediatrician is more than just a medical professional; in addition to helping you through unexpected coughs and runny noses, he or she will also be available to answer any questions you may have about postpartum depression or anxiety and reassure you on difficult days that you’re actually doing a good job at this whole parenting-a-new-human-being-thing.
You probably spent a lot of time considering your priorities when you were dating and looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, including whether you wanted children, what values meant the most to you, and where you wanted to settle down.
The pursuit of Dr. Right is comparable. Given that your child will probably be in your life for years, now is a good time to consider the qualities you want in a doctor for them. Here are some pointers on how to locate that particular someone.
What qualities should a pediatrician have?
When looking for the ideal pediatrician for your child, there are a few important factors to bear in mind, such as:
Location: The doctor for your infant should ideally be located near to where you reside. In addition, getting there ought to be simple. Is the trip short and can you drive, use the train, bus, or subway?
Availability: If you’re a stay-at-home parent, this might not be a problem, but if both you and your spouse have jobs and your doctor is only open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you might find it difficult to schedule appointments. Are there any additional medical professionals at the clinic who could assist if your child’s pediatrician isn’t available? How much time in advance should you schedule appointments? Do they accept appointments the day before and offer late and weekend hours?
Cost: It’s one of the most crucial factors. You don’t want to fall head over heels for Dr. Right just to find out that he or she is either out of your price range or doesn’t accept your insurance. Additionally, it’s good to be aware of your responsibilities: Co-pays? Deductibles? A cap on out-of-pocket expenses?
Is the doctor friendly? How is his or her bedside manner? When you speak, does he or she seem to be paying attention to you, or do you feel rushed? Does he or she reject your worries or use a condescending tone when speaking to you? Trust your instinct on this one and don’t be scared to look around until you find someone you bond with because your baby’s health is essential.
What inquiries need to you make of a prospective pediatrician?
Remember that you want a doctor who will work well for you and your family, so don’t be afraid to treat this like a job interview in which you’re seeking for the best applicant.
- Accept my insurance, do you?
- What hospital are you a part of?
- Where did you study medicine?
- When did you start working out?
- Are you licensed by a board?
- Do you adhere to any particular beliefs or practices about nursing, formula feeding, circumcision, sleep training, vaccinations, potty training, antibiotics, and alternative medicine? If yes, what exactly are they?
- After birth, would you visit my baby in the hospital or are you merely an outpatient?
- What steps should I take if I think my infant needs to see a specialist?
- Do you have evening and weekend hours? If my child is ill, will you accept same-day appointments?
- When you’re away or the office is closed, who should I call?
- What types of examinations or blood work can be performed on-site?
When should you begin your pediatrician search?
If possible, you should begin your search for a pediatrician early in the third trimester.
This allows you to simply enjoy being pregnant during your first and second trimesters (and it also means you can focus on yourself and your health). Additionally, you won’t feel rushed as you look about and ask for advice.
The top pediatricians to choose for your child
Begin by asking your local parent friends for recommendations on the best local medical professionals. They might be able to share with you any unpleasant experiences they’ve had as well. Or simply search for local pediatricians on Google.
You can arrange appointments before the birth of your child so that you and your prospective physician can get to know one another, exchange information, and assess whether you are a good fit.
Before setting up a virtual, phone, or in-person appointment with the pediatrician, you might want to first call the pediatrician’s office personnel to gather some basic information. You should double-check before making an appointment because some doctors charge for these sessions while others provide free initial consultations.
First meetings are a terrific time to be open and honest about issues that are significant to you. It’s best to learn this early on in the process if, for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like a good fit.