How to Find the Right Pediatrician for You and Your Baby
Choosing a pediatrician is one of the most important decisions that you will make as a parent. It’s about more than just finding the best local pediatricians; finding one that’s the right fit for you and your baby is key. The following information will teach you how to find a great pediatrician that you and your baby will be comfortable with.
Where to Begin Your Search
You have several options when beginning your search for the best pediatricians, including:
- American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). This non-profit organization offers referrals to AAP certified pediatricians and pediatric sub-specialists. Pediatricians that are certified by the AAP are graduates from accredited medical schools who have completed an accredited residency program and passed the pediatrics board exam.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. This professional membership organization includes 64,000 board certified primary care pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists, and pediatric surgical specialists. Members are identified by the FAAP (Fellowship of the American Academy of Pediatrics) designation after their name. You can use this pediatrician tool link to find a certified pediatrician.
- Your obstetrician or midwife. Your OBGYN or midwife can recommend pediatricians in your area or direct you on whom to speak to in the nearest medical center, teaching hospital, or community hospital.
There is no need to settle for the first recommendation you receive. Even if a pediatrician comes with a glowing recommendation from another parent or even your OBGYN, this doesn’t guarantee a good fit for you necessarily. You should consider several possibilities in order to find one that best fits you and your baby’s needs.
How to Narrow Your Findings
Narrowing your findings of the best local pediatricians doesn’t have to be difficult. While all of them are able to provide your child with good medical care, you’ll want to consider more than just their credentials—though those are certainly important as well!
A good start is to ask the person making the recommendation questions about the pediatrician. Some good questions to ask:
- Does your child seem comfortable with the doctor?
- Is the doctor patient with your child?
- Does the doctor appear to genuinely enjoy working with children?
- Does the doctor take time to answer your questions and explain things?
- Does the doctor seem to be on top of the latest medical advances?
- Is there anything you don’t particularly like about the doctor or his staff?
- Is it a group practice and if so, what are the other doctors like?
- What are the hours like and is the office conveniently located?
- Is the doctor available in the event of an emergency?
- What are the doctor’s qualifications? Are they certified by the ABP or a member of the AAP?
The answers to those questions should help you narrow the list of possibilities down. Ideally, you want to narrow it down further to the best local pediatricians for you so that getting to appointments is convenient.
The next important step in your quest to find a great pediatrician is to call and set up an appointment with those you’ve narrowed it down to. When calling around, be sure to explain that you are looking for a pediatrician and would like to arrange an initial appointment to see the office and interview them. Also remember to ask about office hours and whether or not they are covered under your insurance plan.
During your first visit you will want to get a feel for the environment and the staff. You should look for a clean and comfortable environment and kind and competent staff. Consider things like proximity to public transportation if you don’t drive, and availability of parking if you do.
The following are some questions to ask during your interview:
- What are the doctor’s hospital appointments? This will tell you where your child would be admitted if they need to be hospitalized.
- Does the doctor take or return phone calls or is there a nurse in the office that can be reached by phone if you have questions?
- When away, does the doctor close the office or have another physician cover for them?
- Are short notice appointments possible if the need warrants?
- What routine checkups do they suggest for the best care?
Taking the time to do your homework and consider all of these things will help you find the best pediatrician for your child.
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