Choosing a pediatrician for your child may require more effort than you think. You want to pick a doctor you can trust with your child's health, not just when she is baby but throughout her childhood.
“If you have a continuing relationship with a doctor, you have the time and comfort to go deeper,” pediatrician Dr. Evaline Alessandrini tells Parents. Here are a few things to keep in mind while looking for a pediatrician:
1. Start the search early (before you give birth) By the end of the second trimester of your pregnancy, you should already come up with a list of pediatricians for your baby. It will give you enough time to think about what you’re looking for in a pediatrician and gather the necessary info to make an informed decision.
Asking your obstetrician would be an excellent place to start. Ask other parents for referrals as well. (Many moms also use Facebook support groups. Click here to go to ours called the Smart Parenting Village.) They can tell you why they chose their pediatrician, what they like (and don’t like) about them, and give more practical info like clinic hours and fees.
2. Consider the pedia’s medical experience It's sensible to choose a doctor with solid medical experience, says Dr. Esperanza F. Rivera, a practicing pediatrician for over 40 years and former president of the Philippine Pediatric Society.
Years of medical practice, fellowship, and attendance in local and international medical conventions are proofs of doctors’ experience and expertise. Having additional training in subspecialties like neonatal care are valuable assets too.
3. You are comfortable talking to your pedia The pediatrician is mom and dad’s partner in raising a healthy baby so choose a doctor that you’re comfortable talking to. You need to be able to put complete trust in your pediatrician.
You should feel like your concerns are being listened to and given the attention they deserve. You should also feel satisfied how your doctor answers your questions, and if there are some things you don’t understand, that you're comfortable asking the doctor to repeat or rephrase her explanation.
“Keep in mind that while most parents like to think that they are looking for a good pediatrician, you are mostly looking for a pediatrician who is good for you and your family. And that often comes down to how well your personalities fit together,” said Dr. Vincent Iannelli in an article for VeryWell.
4. Practical matters matter “Although we like to think that things like cost and convenience should be secondary when making such an important decision, they can be very important when choosing a pediatrician,” said Dr. Iannelli.
Choose a doctor with a clinic that's close to home and a schedule that works for you. Consider the doctor’s fees and if he’s covered by your health insurance as well. Remember, you will come to the clinic for your child's monthly check-ups, vaccinations, booster shots, and more. It's also reassuring to know that if your child is sick, his doctor is just a short drive away.
5. Look for a pedia with similar views and beliefs as you Does the pedia share your views on topics like breastfeeding, immunization, circumcision, and discipline? If this isn’t the case, the doctor should be open and supportive of your choices or at the at least be able to give you an unbiased opinion of your differing views, said Dr. Rivera.
6. It helps if the waiting room is inviting and child-friendly Heading to the doctor’s clinic will likely require a long wait before you and your child are seen by the pediatrician. It helps if the waiting area has enough distractions to keep children entertained such as toys and books.
7. Switch pedias if you must “Parents have the right to choose their child’s pediatrician, to seek a second opinion or even switch doctors should they feel their current one is lacking in any way (e.g. usually unavailable,1 kids don’t warm up to the doctor, etc.),” said Anna Soriano, a writer for SmartParenting.com.ph.
“Still, it's best to talk to your child’s doctor first if you have any concerns that you deem significant to your child’s health care. If you have done so and have reached no resolution, then it’s time to look for another doctor.”