Start Your Search Early
While expecting parents can spend hours researching the perfect crib, stroller and high chair, they often spend less time choosing their childs doctor. As with any decision, its best to start early. Most hospitals will ask for the name of your pediatrician when youre admitted to deliver your baby, so give yourself plenty of time, remembering that some babies arrive early.
What To Look For
Its a good idea to make sure the pediatrician you would like to meet is board-certified.
Board-certified pediatricians have completed not only medical school and residency programs in pediatrics, but they’ve also passed a rigorous exam given by the American Board of Pediatrics.
To remain board-certified, pediatricians must continue their education through classes and workshops, demonstrate quality patient care and maintain a valid medical license to demonstrate they are up-to-date on the most current medical practices, knowledge and skills for health care for children of all ages.
Determine what is important to you from a practical perspective. For example, does the pediatricians office need to be convenient to your home, workplace, day care or other locations?
Payment and Insurance
Before scheduling to meet a pediatrician, check with his or her office staff to ensure the office accepts your current insurance. If you do not carry insurance or the office doesnt accept your plan, ask about what expenses you should expect. You may also want to confirm your co-payment, laboratory and other possible expenses with your insurance company.
Each Texas Childrens Pediatrics practice has a list of insurance plans it accepts, so its easy to see if a given practice takes your insurance.
Scan The Pediatricians Website
The internet is a great place to get basic information about pediatricians in your area. Many physicians have a practice website or are included on a health system website. Here, you can usually find out:
- The doctors medical background and training.
- How long theyve been in practice.
- Their office hours.
- Languages they speak.
- Other providers they work with.
Of course, a website wont tell you everything you need to know. Thats when you move on to the next step: a meeting.
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Should I Find A Pediatrician Before My Baby Is Born
Some parents want to start building a relationship with their babys doctor before the baby arrives. While youre pregnant, you can research pediatricians in your area to find one who accepts your insurance and is close to home or work.
Once youve decided on a pediatrician, you can meet with them to share your familys medical history and make a plan for taking care of your baby in the first few days and weeks.
Your pediatrician can give information about possible postnatal emotional ups and downs, schedule a circumcision, or talk about any other area of concern you might have as a parent-to-be.
You could also make plans for your pediatrician to visit you and meet the baby while youre still in the hospital or birthing center.
Finding a pediatrician in advance will eliminate one of the many unknowns youll probably encounter after your baby arrives.
What Questions Should You Ask A Potential Pediatrician
Remember, youre looking for a doctor whos a good fit for you and your family, so dont be afraid to see this as a job interview, one where youre on the search for the perfect candidate.
Do you take my insurance?
Which hospital are you affiliated with?
Where did you go to medical school?
How long have you been practicing?
Are you board-certified?
Do you have a specific philosophy on breastfeeding, formula-feeding, circumcision, sleep training, vaccines, potty training, antibiotics and alternative medicine, and if so, do you follow specific practices?
Will you visit my newborn at the hospital after birth or are you only outpatient?
Whats the protocol if my baby needs to see a specialist for any reason?
- Do you have evening and weekend hours, and do you accept day-of appointments if my child is sick?
Who should I call when youre on vacation or the office is closed?
What kinds of tests or blood work can be done in-house?
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How To Choose A Pediatrician: What To Look For
So, your family’s about to get a little bigger. You’ve got the best gear, signed up for all the right classes, ordered the right books. … But how much thought have you given your baby’s pediatrician?
Choosing the right doctor for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for you and your baby.
Sure, you’ll want to consider convenience and office hours: Is it close to home, are they open late or on weekends? What about expertise where did they do their training, are they board-certified? Do they come recommended by friends and family? What’s their philosophy on things important to you?
And what about those hope-this-never-happens moments? Where will they send you if your child needs to see a specialist? Finding a pediatrician connected to a top children’s hospital can help remove some of the worries and the “what ifs.”
There’s a lot to think about with a baby on the way. So, the pediatricians at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have compiled the most important things for you to consider.
What Other Services Are Offered
Some practices differentiate by offering special services to their patients. Many teams consist of clinicians with differing areas of expertise. Ask what services are offered through their practice. Do they offer behavioral health coaching? Is there an onsite lab? And virtual visits have become popular as a safe and convenient way to meet with your pediatrician online. Ask about telehealth services if thats a priority for your family.
Boston Childrens Primary Care Alliance practices health care teams may consist of lactation specialists, social workers, behavioral health specialists, nutritionists and more.
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How To Choose A Pediatrician For Newborns
Choosing a pediatrician can be difficult because there are many factors to consider. Such as location, insurance coverage, availability, and whether or not they accept new patients. When finding a pediatrician for your newborn its important to find the right one if you want them to be healthy. They understand what causes illness, how to care for them, and how to help them feel better as quickly as possible.
There are also many insurance company are available for your childs health. And they provide the best pediatrician with all relevant information like doctors working weekend hours or office hours and urgent care center, etc. Here are some tips on how to choose the best provider for your family
1. Ask other parents
Dont be afraid to ask for recommendations from other parents. And your childs school nurse and teachers assistant. If you already have a doctor in mind but would like additional input. Then dont hesitate to ask these folks if they can recommend another pediatrician. That might work better for you and your family.
2. Try doctors in your area
If you live somewhere where there are multiple pediatricians. Then just dont settle for just one doctor before checking out the others. If you choose board-certified doctors, then they will all generally have the same experience. However, there could be small differences between them. Also, look for pediatricians who accept your insurance and those that offer group practice, evening and weekend appointments.
Questions To Ask My Friends And Relatives About Their Pediatrician:
- Do you feel rushed at your appointments?
- Are all your questions and concerns addressed by your pediatrician?
- Do your children like their pediatrician?
- How are emergencies handled on the weekend or after hours?
- Does the pediatrician include you in the decision-making process?
- Does your pediatrician explain the side effects and risks of various medications?
- Does your pediatrician respect your opinion? For example, how does your pediatrician respond if you choose not to vaccinate your child?
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Consider The Location Hours And Size Of The Practice
For many working parents, choosing a clinic with extended hours, including evening and weekend options, is key. Other parents prioritize location close to home, close to school or close to the office. Pick whatever you think will work best for you.
Also keep in mind that young kids get sick unexpectedly. A lot. Accidents happen. Of course, emergency rooms exist for imminent, life-threatening issues, but for everything else, same-day sick visits offer the opportunity for immediate care in a familiar atmosphere. Evidence suggests that they also reduce wait time and increase patient satisfaction. Keep in mind that when children fall ill, many day cares and schools require antibiotics or documented physical clearance before they can return, so if having the opportunity for a same-day appointment is important to you, then put it high on your list.
Is it important for you to have a way to communicate with your provider during evenings and weekends? If so, look for a clinic with an online portal, where you can email your childs provider, request appointments, review lab results, and access physical forms and vaccination records that might be required for day care and school entry.
Another thing to consider is the size of the practice. You might prefer a smaller group practice that makes it easier to build rapport with a single doctor, but a larger group might make it easier to get an appointment.
How Often Will The Pediatrician See Your Baby For Checkups And Immunizations
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a checkup within forty-eight to seventy-two hours after your newborn is discharged from the hospital. This is especially important in breastfed babies to evaluate feeding, weight gain, and any yellow discoloration of skin . Your pediatrician may adjust this feeding schedule, particularly in the first weeks of life, depending on how your newborn is doing.
During your baby’s first year of life, additional visits to your doctor’s office should take place at about two to four weeks of age, and then at two, four, six, nine, and twelve months of age as well. During your baby’s second year of life, she should be seen by your pediatrician at ages fifteen, eighteen, and twenty-four months, followed by annual visits from two to five years of age. If the doctor routinely schedules examinations more or less frequently than the Academy’s guidelines, discuss the differences with her. Additional appointments can be scheduled any time that you have a concern or if your child is ill.
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What Are The Costs Of Care
Your pediatrician should have a standard fee structure for hospital and office visits as well as after- hours visits and home visits . Find out if the charges for routine visits include immunizations. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the scope of your insurance coverage before you actually need services.
After these interviews, ask yourself if you are comfortable with the pediatrician’s philosophy, policies, and practice. You must feel that you can trust her and that your questions will be answered and your concerns handled compassionately. You also should feel comfortable with the staff and the general atmosphere of the office.
Once your baby arrives, the most important test of the pediatrician you have selected is how she cares for your child and responds to your concerns. If you are unhappy with any aspect of the treatment you and your child are receiving, you should talk to the pediatrician directly about the problem. If the response does not address your concerns, or if the problem simply cannot be resolved, seek out another physician.
We hope you found our tips on how to find a pediatrician helpful. For more information on your baby’s growth and development, visit Enfamil.com today.
Meet The Pediatricians Youre Considering
Now its time to talk to the doctors. Narrow down your list to two or three pediatricians and set up a meeting with each one. Most pediatricians will schedule a virtual or in-person interview for low or no cost.
When you talk with the doctor, you get a feel for their personality, their style and whether you click with them, says Dr. Giuliano. These are things you wont get from a website or online reviews written by strangers.
If youre pregnant, when you pick a pediatrician is important. Start calling doctors at the beginning of your third trimester if you can, says Dr. Giuliano. If you get too close to your due date, you might have a patient before you have a pediatrician.
Before the meeting, jot down a list of questions for the doctor. Here are a few topics you may want to ask about:
Babies and children get sick. And new babies have lots of appointments even when theyre healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends seven well-child visits in the first year alone.
Is the pediatricians office close to your home or your childs day care? Are they always in one office, or do they have other locations? Do they have adequate parking nearby? These logistics matter when youve got a sick child on your hands or a jam-packed schedule.
Other providers at the office
Its not necessary to meet everyone on the staff, says Dr. Giuliano. But its good to know a little about the other providers, so youre not surprised later.
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What Should I Look For When Choosing A Pediatrician
The number one thing that I wish I would have looked for, and, I believe would have told me a lot about the pediatrician, was the office morale.
You may be able to assess the office administrators enthusiasm for her job through a simple phone call, but this is where actually visiting an office in person is going to be a huge advantage.
What To Expect From Your Pediatrician
Your pediatrician may care for your childs health from birth up to 18 years old. During this time, your child will have numerous wellness visits to check their physical and mental development.
The nature of appointments will vary as your child becomes older, but theyll have their first checkup within 5 days of delivery.
After the initial checkup, your doctor may schedule a 1-month appointment. Then theyll see your baby at least every 2 months up until theyre 6 months old.
After 6 months, youll see your pediatrician every 3 months until your baby is 18 months old, and then every 6 months until 30 months old.
After this, your pediatrician will schedule wellness checks on an annual basis.
During these visits, your doctor will:
- complete a physical examination
- talk about health and safety
- answer any questions you have
Every wellness visit includes anticipatory guidance. This is advice about whats to come developmentally for your child and how to help keep the child healthy and safe between visits.
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When Should I Look For A Pediatrician
Start looking for pediatricians while you’re still pregnantpreferably between 28 and 34 weeks along. “It’s important to have a pediatrician you’ve already met and respect, because you have enough going on after the baby is born,” says Evaline Alessandrini, M.D., a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Theres also another benefit of finding a pediatrician early: Dr. Alessandrini’s recent study, which she co-authored, found that babies who see the same doctor for their first 6 months are up to twice as likely to receive important health tests before they turn 2. Sticking with the same doctor also prevents wasted time on things like going over whether immunizations are up to date,” she says. “If you have a continuing relationship with a doctor, you have the time and comfort to go deeper.”
Dont Be Afraid To Switch Doctors
Finding a competent health care provider is necessary, but not always sufficient. Its important to find someone who you can trust, communicate with, and whose approach to care mirrors your expectations. After all, says Jaime Moy, D.O., a primary care pediatrician in the Los Angeles area, its the partnership between parent and pediatrician that ensures a childs healthy growth and development into adulthood.
Dr. Moy continued: If that relationship does not form, parents should feel empowered to find another provider who they can make that connection with. Remember, this is your childs primary health care provider, and someone you will rely on not only for anticipated growth milestones, but also during those unexpected moments that inevitably arise.
Erika R. Cheng, Ph.D., and Tracey A. Wilkinson, M.D., are assistant professors of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Making The Decision: What Factors Should You Consider
Some parents simply have a gut feeling about the best pediatrician others weigh the pros and cons of each person. The following factors should also rank high on your list of priorities.
Does the doctor share your views? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for 6 months, then be given breast milk along with solids until at least his first year. Doctors vary on how much they press the issue likewise, there are opposing sides to the circumcision debate. If you have strong feelings either way, make sure your doctor agrees with your viewor at least respects it.
Does the doctor match your other criteria? Other factors may seem superficial but can still affect your rapport. For instance, some people prefer a young female pediatrician, but others want a grandfatherly type. Some parents will only select a doctor with parenting experience, since they appreciate the extra empathy and hands-on experience that comes from being a mom or dad. The most important thing: Do you and this doctor click?
Does the office run smoothly? From this initial prenatal visit, you can evaluate how the office works. In the waiting room, chat up other parents and ask what they like and dislike about the practice. Also check out the area: Are there books, toys, or a TV to distract children? Do the receptionists seem on top of internal and external communications?