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Your Search is on for the Right Pediatrician!

March 9, 2012

Who knew that pregnancy kicks off the wildest scavenger hunt of your life? Expectant moms everywhere are on the search for the best in car seats, obstetricians, bassinets, and baby monitors. But in the midst of your all-consuming research on tiny humidifiers, remember choosing a pediatrician is not permanent. If you find you are not meshing with the doctor you thought was “the perfect fit”, you can always find another! So relax, take a deep breath and know this is a learning process…just like parenting!

Ask around!

A great way to choose a pediatrician is to solicit referrals from friends, neighbors, and co-workers. If families in your area are giving a doctor rave reviews, your decision becomes a lot easier. But beyond what the critics have to say, you may have questions of your own.

Location

Is the location of the practice convenient to your home, work, and your child’s daycare? The last thing you want to do is travel a long distance with a sick child. Look for an office that is no further than fifteen minutes from your home. Even if your best friend insists that her pediatrician, whose office is 40 minutes away, is amazing, that distance is just not practical for your family. And practicality is a must when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you take your baby in for at least six check-ups during the first year.

Type of Practice

Is it a large practice consisting of nurses, nurse practitioners and pediatricians or a one-person show? You may like the flexibility of a larger practice, especially when your child is sick. Or, you may like the idea of seeing the same person, whether it is a sick or well visit. And what is the average wait time when you arrive? While you may expect to be seen right away, remember that pediatrician offices are very busy, especially in the winter months. Expect to wait and maintain a smile and a good attitude. The day will come when your child is the reason the office is behind! You’ll be thankful that they squeezed you in and thoroughly examined him/her while answering all your questions.

Accessibility

Can the practice easily accommodate same-day or next-day appointments? Do they have “walk-in hours”? Is a pediatrician easily reachable during off-hours, in case of an emergency? Do they take your insurance? If you live in a city, is the office easily accessible by bus, train or foot? Is parking free or discounted for patients? If the commute to and from the office is the most stressful part of the day, this office is not the right fit.

Hospital Affiliation

What hospital is your pediatrician affiliated with for emergencies? This, for me, was a big deciding factor. Since I live around Boston, I wanted a pediatrician who was affiliated with Children’s Hospital in Boston.

The Decision is Yours

Even if a pediatrician works well for your friend’s family, s/he may not be right for you and your child. You may want to schedule a consultation with a few pediatricians to get a feel for the fit. Take some time to ask questions and tell the doctor a little about your lifestyle and preferences: everything from breastfeeding and vaccinations to sleep-training and daily schedules.

If you haven’t begun your search yet, start now. Taking the time to find a pediatrician who is right for your family will result in peace of mind once it’s time for those informative (and frequent) newborn visits!

Photography courtesy of Flickr.


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