Getting Ready For Your First Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician will be one of the most important decisions you make as a new parent. The right pediatrician will be able to care for your child up until they turn 18, so you want to make sure that whomever you choose is the right fit for you and your child. You will need to feel comfortable to discuss your child’s ailments, immunizations, thumb-sucking, bed-wetting and developmental changes through puberty (source: www.webmd.com). That’s a big responsibility, but as long as you follow these tips and ask the correct questions during your search, you will be able to find a doctor who will be able to provide the necessary care for your child.
Begin Your Search Before Your Child is Born
Most newborn babies are seen in a pediatrician’s office a few days after leaving the hospital (source: www.healthcommunities.com). This means that you should never wait until your child is born before you begin your search for a doctor. You should start your search at least a few weeks before your due date. This will also allow you to be able to ask questions regarding labor and childbirth if this is your first baby.
Ask for Recommendations
There are bound to be several pediatricians in your area, and you will find that not all of them will be a good fit for you or your child. Fortunately, you have plenty of resources available even if you don’t know it. Your primary care doctor may be able to give you some recommendations, as will any friends or family members who have had children. These are all people who will want what is best for you and your child, so they will be sure to give you the best advice that they have.
Know What Questions to Ask During the Interview
Asking for recommendations from your doctor and family will steer you in the right direction, but ultimately the best way to decide if a pediatrician is the right one will be to interview him or her yourself. Part of the interview will be a conversation to get a feel for the pediatrician, but there are still some questions you should be asking. Some of these include:
- Is this a solo or group practice?
- How many years has the doctor been in practice?
- How will I reach you if my child gets sick after hours?
- Who covers for the doctor when he or she is not on call?
- Does the doctor have any subspecialties?
Caring for a newborn presents many challenges, and no new parent should be expected to handle them without some help. If you have any questions about caring for your new baby and addressing any health issues, never hesitate to ask them of your pediatrician.