Finding a pediatrician is among the first of many choices that parents will have to make for their children. Most hospitals not only want your doctor’s information but also your future bundle of joys before they will even start the process of setting up your delivery date. There are many things to consider when choosing a pediatrician. Are they covered by your insurance? Do they have good reviews? Are they close to home? Those can be answered relatively quickly with a simple google search. However, the most important question cannot be answered until you actually walk into the office yourself – do you get along with and have the same views as the pediatrician you’ve chosen? You may not get along well with the first pediatrician you meet.
That is perfectly fine. That is why starting earlier is better.
One of the first things to consider is whether or not the pediatrician is covered by your insurance. This is important because there is no reason to pay out of pocket when you may have the ability to have a large amount of the cost covered. If you do not have insurance, talk with your provider, most offices have a cash patient pricing list.
Next, if possible, try to find an office that is close to home. Having to deal with the stress of shots or possibly of a sick infant is enough on its own. Then add in the possibility that your little one does not like to be in a car seat. It’s best to keep the travel time down to a minimum to help keep your nerves from rattling with each wail and sob coming from the little one who cannot yet express their displeasure more communicatively.
After narrowing down office locations, you may want to read reviews of the office online. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what your reasons may have been for why you chose your pediatrician. It could have been something as simple as you liked their name. Maybe you prefer an older doctor who has seen their fair share of sickness, or perhaps you prefer a younger doctor that may be more up-to-date on modern parenting techniques. Or you could have skipped the small practice and gone with a pediatrics group where they have a handful of doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, allowing you more flexibility with who you may see. Whatever your reasons may have been, the most crucial thing to determine is whether or not you and the pediatrician get along.
Now it’s time to visit the office. You can either call ahead of time and speak to the receptionist or do a cold walk-in. Either way, you will get a glimpse into how they handle their patients. Is the receptionist kind and caring? Or are they short with their words and leave you on an extended wait? You need to think about these things when you are picking a doctor’s office because before you ever see the doctor, you’re dealing with their team. Having a good rapport with those who work at the front desk could help if you ever need an emergency appointment.
A suggestion that I have heard, and partook in myself, was to bring a list of questions to the first meeting. I didn’t get through all the questions that I wanted to, but I did feel by the time I left the office that I had a better understanding of who the doctor was. I left confident that we were on the same path when it came to childcare. If you had repetitive ailments growing up, there is a strong possibility that your child may have them as well. It’s good to know if your doctor is well versed in these illnesses so they may be on the lookout for them, rather than someone who may not be.
Finding a pediatrician does not need to be stressful, especially if you give yourself enough time. If you are lucky to live in an area that has many options, be sure to talk to a few of the doctors, but the most important thing of all is to trust your instincts. This person will be your partner in your child’s health. There is no reason that you should ever feel uncomfortable about addressing any issues with them.