10 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

So last week, A had her 18 month appointment. It went very well- everything is right on target and our big girl is running right on her growth curves where she’s supposed to be and screamed bloody murder when she got her shots, just as I had expected. While we were there, I began thinking about how I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts and tips for choosing a pediatrician for your baby on here.

We started looking into various practices near our home at the very end of my pregnancy with A. I think we actually waited a little longer than we should have and as such I was a tad stressed out. Still after taking a closer look into a few places, we ultimately settled on our current practice and from that moment, there hasn’t been a question in my mind that we made the best possible decision for our family. So here are some tips to consider when choosing a pediatrician:

Here at 10 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician- It can seem really overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. These are super helpful!

  1. Insurance- Does the practice accept your insurance? If not, you may want to look elsewhere. As we all know, medical care can be quite expensive.
  2. Location- Initially, I didn’t think this really mattered (I totally grew up going to the most awesome pediatrician that was a good 20 minute drive without traffic). But now that I’m a mom, I am so glad that our pediatrician is less than 10 minutes from our home. This is not only for logistical reasons like weather conditions (hello, Western New York winters!) but also because when your sweet baby is sick, the last thing you want to be doing is running all over the world with them.
  3. Credentials- This may go without saying, but just in case, is the doctor board certified? Do they belong the American Academy of Pediatrics? Are there any areas that they specialize in (while this may not be top priority it never hurts. Think about it. If you have a family history of Asthma, it’s definitely a sweet perk if the doctor you choose has a good amount of experience with asthmatic patients)? One thing I loved about the practice that we chose is that each doctor indicated in their bio some areas of special interest that they had a special focus in. It was pretty great to hear about those types of things. Also, are they a parent? While this is obviously not a prerequisite, I love that our Doctor is also a mom and has been exactly where I am a few times.
  4. Bedside Manner- Do you click with the doctor? Does their communication style mesh well with yours? When your sweet baby is sick for the first time and you’re totally freaking out (do I sound like I speak from experience here?Um, yes, 100%!) you’ll want someone that communicates in a way that won’t make you want to bite their head off.
  5. Practice Policies- What are the hours of the practice? Do they have any extended hours on nights or weekends? What’s the on-call situation? Will you always have the same doctor each time or will you see a different partner on each visit? Do they have a separate entrance for really tiny babies? With which area hospitals is the practice affiliated? I’m sure there are a million more that I’m missing, but inquire about the practice’s basic policies so that you know what you’re signing up for.
  6. What are your priorities- It’s so important to sit down with your partner (if applicable) and assess what your biggest priorities are for a practice and Doctor before you begin looking around. For example, a really big thing for us was finding a practice that was as pro-vaccinations as we are (which is a major non-negotiable for me). So when one of the practices we were considering refused to give us a straight answer on their policy regarding vaccinations, a major red flag was raised for us and we walked out of that meeting knowing that this practice was not a good fit for our family. Bottom line, decide on the priorities for your family and don’t settle for less. From here, make a list of questions to get an idea about where the doctor and the practice stands on the matters that are close to your heart.
  7. What are the other employees like; the nurses, the administrative staff, etc.- In the area that I live it is apparently a common practice for a medical practice to charge for an initial meeting. I was unaware of this when I began my research and when I called certain practices to inquire, the administrative staff that I spoke with acted as though I was some sort of idiot for not being aware of this and had quite an attitude with me. I was immediately turned off from even being willing to consider these practices because if that’s the attitude that’s given to a person who is simply calling to (nicely) inquire, what’s going to happen when I’m a nervous wreck calling the first time my poor baby is sick? On the tour of our current practice (which was free of charge, by the way) all of the staff made a point to introduce themselves and make us feel very welcome, which has continued every single time we call or step foot into the building. I cannot even begin to tell you how nice it is to have a friendly reassuring voice on the other end of the call after a long night up with a sick baby!
  8. Referrals- Do any of your local friends or family recommend any doctors or practices? We found our doctor through a friend of mine from high school who had such wonderful things to say about her. It never hurts to ask around.
  9. Don’t freak out- It can be a daunting task trying to find the right Doctor for your baby. I get it. I totally freaked out. You are entrusting them with the most precious thing in your world. At the same time, have a little faith and remember, you can always change in the future, if you had to.
  10. Trust your gut- Like many others, I know this to be true: if your gut tells you something, it’s often right. Follow those signals. When it’s right (or wrong) you will know. Follow that intuition.

What helped you decide on the right pediatrician for your family?

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Janelle@The Peaceful Haven
    January 8, 2016 at 10:12 am Love this list...very helpful!
    • Reply
      Jessy
      January 8, 2016 at 10:52 am Thank you!
  • Reply
    Anosa
    January 9, 2016 at 2:50 am I do not yet have kids but these are awesome tips to consider indeed. Thanks for sharing. Anosa recently posted...12 Months of Happiness – 1 of 12My Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      January 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm Thank you!
  • Reply
    Tara@SimpleFood365
    January 10, 2016 at 12:13 pm Choosing a pediatrician is the worst process! I have found some that I thought I would be happy with that turned out to be a total mistake and then one or two I wasn't sure about but ended up really liking. Great tips here! Tara@SimpleFood365 recently posted...Keep Me Going Italian Tuna SaladMy Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      January 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm Thank you- I'm sorry to hear that your situation started out so negative. I'm glad you've since found someone great!
  • Reply
    Karen
    January 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm May I say, don't be afraid to fire your pediatrician if you don't feel he/she is doing what you need or want. Thanks for sharing at Let's Get Real.
    • Reply
      Jessy
      January 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm I totally agree with you!
  • Reply
    Alyssa
    January 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm Not being originally from the city I live in, referrals are huge for me. I basically just do whatever trusted friends tell me. My friend recommended an awesome dentist, so naturally I followed her lead when it came to a pediatrician. She's been going to ours since her daughters were young (now 13 and 17) and it's been a great decision for us. Good location, friendly staff, knowledgeable doctors (we've seen people other than our doctor when going in unexpectedly for illness). She was at the hospital to meet our son less than 8 hours after he arrived! I think you had great advice to go based on gut feeling and attitude of the staff. I was all concerned about sleep when I was pregnant and our ped assured us she would help us with sleep training and then 6 months later she was telling me to let my baby CIO and I was like OVER MY DEAD BODY YOU CRAZY BITCH. Lol. Jk. Love her. And they don't take on patients who don't vaccinate. Alyssa recently posted...Stuff that's awesomeMy Profile
    • Reply
      Jessy
      January 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm Referrals can be huge- I'm glad to hear you found someone you love!

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