One of the really important decisions you will need to make as a parent is what pediatrician you go to. Since there is a lot of responsibility in this choice, you need to take a step back and conduct a very good research.
The pediatrician is specialized in the behavioral, mental, and physical, care of children. They take care of adolescents, toddlers, and babies. You need them to perform immunizations, physical examinations, monitor child development, treat illnesses, and diagnose them.
Remember that the relationship you have with your pediatrician will be a long-term one. It is actually recommended to choose one around 3 months before the baby is born. To find some of the best, here are some things you want to consider.
Doctor’s Office Location
There are several things you will surely do to narrow down the choices considered. One of them needs to be office location. During the first years of a baby’s life, the pediatrician will be visited several times, usually ever two to three months. So, having a pediatrician that is close to work, day care, or home will save a lot of time.
As an extra tip, if you do not have a car, go for a doctor that has offices that are very easy to access with public transportation.
Nobody says you have to choose the pediatrician alone. All throughout the pregnancy, you surely end up establishing a trusting and friendly relationship with the OB-GYN. When this is the case, you can easily ask for a recommendation.
In addition, you can always talk to the family doctor and the primary care physician. They can both give you recommendations about potential pediatricians to consider. However, make sure you do not blindly trust these recommendations. You still need to learn more about the doctor.
Recommendations From Family And Friends
Since we are talking about choosing a very important doctor for your family, why not talk to those who you trust the most? Pediatrician recommendations can easily come from your very close friends and from family members. When these people had really good relationships with their pediatricians, there is a very good possibility you will have exactly the same experience.
Pediatrician Experience And Credentials
Pediatricians need to graduate medical school, go through a residency program, and then receive a state license. However, this does not mean that all pediatricians you will find will be board certified. The process is voluntary and does require some extra training. After completion of the additional training, the doctor is examined so that it becomes certified. The governing body is The American Board of Pediatrics.
The reason why board certification is so important is that pediatricians with such a credential showed competency in:
- Medical knowledge
- Communication skills
- Patient care
How The Practice Operates
The way in which the office operates has to align with the needs you have. This is why it is so important to think about the following:
- Whether or not it is possible to schedule last-minute appointments or same-day appointments.
- If office hours are good for you, based on your schedule.
- Whether or not the pediatrician will offer weekend and evening hours.
- When the practice features several doctors, will you see the exact same pediatrician with every visit or will you see different doctors?
The Introductory Visit
When you go for the first visit, you can easily get a lot of important information so you will be closer to figuring out whether or not the pediatrician is a good choice for you and your child. This is because it is incredibly important that you find a doctor you are fully comfortable with. Doing so will automatically encourage communication.
Try to observe the way in which the pediatrician is interacting with your child or your newborn. Is there a true interest there, a care for the baby? When the baby has some unique issues, can you trust the doctor because of their experience with such issues?
During the introductory visit with the pediatrician, the most important thing is to trust your gut. When you do not feel comfortable and you feel that you cannot communicate openly with the doctor, you need to choose another pediatrician.
Remember that you can schedule this introductory visit even before you have your baby. This is because many pediatrician offices actually offer these visits so you can ask questions, get a tour of the office, and meet the staff, not just the doctor.
What Should You Expect From The Pediatrician?
The pediatrician might end up caring for the health of your child for 18 years. During such a long time, the child will have several wellness visits since the doctor will need to check their mental and physical development.
The exact nature of these appointments varies as the child goes older. However, the first checkup is usually scheduled around five days after delivery. After this initial checkup, the doctor can schedule an appointment for the one month mark. Then, the baby should be seen every two months until the child is 6 months old. After, the frequency of the meetings should be of 3 months until the baby is 18 months old. Every 6 months afterwards, another checkup is needed until the child is 30 months old.
After going through these tougher times, the doctor needs to schedule annual checkups. During such visits, the pediatrician needs to:
- Assess child development
- Perform a physical exam
- Administer shots
- Take measurements
- Answer the parents’ questions
- Discuss health and safety
During every single wellness check with the pediatrician, it is expected that the parent is looking for some sort of guidance. So, the doctor has to offer advice about child development and ways in which the parent can keep the child on track and safe.
Choosing your pediatrician is something you should not take lightly. Never choose just the first option that you find on the internet or the first pediatrician recommended by someone. It is important to find someone who will properly take care of your child’s health and that can be trusted.