Aside from your birth plan, one of the most important pre-baby arrival decisions you can make is choosing your baby’s pediatrician.
Let’s face it, you discuss just about everything with your partner before the birth; nursery furniture, safest car seat, strollers, birth plan, etc. Many families forget to talk about one of the most important decisions: Who’s going to be your baby’s pediatrician? Before your baby is born you are expected to have their doctor chosen and one year of appointments already scheduled. For us personally, we were a little behind the ball. So once I got home after delivery — the race to find a pediatrician was on. Luckily, I had all the right tools that lead me to be very successful when choosing baby boy’s pediatrician.
Think it all through
When making the final decision on your child’s pediatrician, make sure you sit and truly think of all the things that are important to you in a doctor.
- Education: How important is your doctor’s education to you? For me, this wasn’t that important. Being a nurse I know how important it is to be fresh out of school and needing the experience but having no one trust you. Yes, it takes a little more trust since these physicians don’t have a ton of background experience, but hey they have to start somewhere. Plus, check-ups are pretty routine, how much could they mess up?
- Accolades: Is the pediatrician you are considering featured in any magazines or well-known published articles? Have they spoken at any conferences? Any top ranking in the state? Many providers have a lot of accomplishments under their belt, but it’s up to you to decide if any of that stuff is important to you. When choosing a pediatrician for my child, I definitely was impressed by any mentions of accolades for a certain provider, but it was not anything that helped in my final decision making. Instead, it was like icing on top of the cake. (Though icing is absolutely my favorite part of a cake.)
- History: The same way you have a job history, so does a provider. It’s important to decide if having knowledge of your provider’s history is important for you. In my search, this was very important. I wanted to know any medical errors/malpractices, any fires/not eligible for rehires or any blemishes the pediatrician had on their work history. Which leads me to my next point.
Do your research
Similar to every other major decision in life, you really shouldn’t make a big decision like finding your child’s doctor without first doing some research. There are a few ways to get this research done.
- Internet: Yes, you very well can throw your potential pediatrician’s name in google and see what comes up. But more than likely it won’t bring up the real facts you want to know. There are websites such as Health Grades, as well as Vitals, that help you find out specific information about each provider. Information including: work history, medical practice history (i.e. any blemishes on their record), their education, their age, their gender, any accolades and more. These websites are trusted websites with accurate and specific information that will give you more of the type of information you need before choosing the right doctor for your child. I most definitely ran my son’s doctor’s name through sites like these a time or two.
- Word of mouth: We all know that sometimes the best advice you need, comes from straight from the source. The best information you can get about a pediatrician is going to come from another trusted family, and them discussing their decision on why they chose that pediatrician. SO… go ahead! Ask your friend that just had a baby who their pediatrician is. Ask your family members with young children their reasoning for choosing their pediatrician.
- Your doctor: And my biggest recommendation is ask YOUR doctor! They’ve counseled plenty of women on choosing their baby’s doctor within those last few prenatal visits and if anyone is going to have a vast knowledge on doctors in the area — they will. And even if they can’t tell you local doctors, they can at least give you a place to start.
My Top 4 Reasons for Choosing My Son’s Pediatrician
When choosing my pediatrician it came down to 5 main points and these were what I used each time we moved and had to find a new pediatrician.
- Proximity: If you know me, you know I’m always late… so my doctor being close was a must. It’s hard enough getting myself out the house on time, but add in a newborn and it was basically setting me up for failure. Having my doctor close to our house was necessary for those “flying out of the house 10 minutes before the appointment was supposed to start” moments.
- Insurance: If I don’t have to spend extra money, I don’t want to. Having a physician that was covered by our insurance was another must. I didn’t mind paying a co-pay, but helping a provider pay off their Benz payment for the month was not in my intentions.
- Family/Friend Recommendation: Similar to when I said word of mouth, I needed to personally know someone whose child went to my physician’s office. The best form of advice is true experience. I value my friend’s and family’s opinion, so getting feedback on their pediatricians was very important to me.
- Likability: If it’s one thing my son’s father will tell you about me (aside from me being amazing), is that I am very picky. Whether it is food, homes, cars, clothes; I have my opinions and they are very strong. I felt the same way when it came to my son’s doctor. If I had to sit in an office with them every month for 30 minutes plus… I had to be able to like them. Might sound superficial but this was important to me. And not only that I liked them — but that Tate did, too. During our meet and greets I watched how the pediatricians interacted with both Tate and us as his parents.
Making life decisions is hard; making them for your children is even harder. From cold remedies, skin care and more there is so much we just aren’t sure on as parents, and the right pediatrician can prove to be a big help. But don’t forget life is all about trial and error. If you choose the first provider and they don’t work out, move on! Go on meet and greets where you sit and meet with different doctors, voice your expectations and then go from there. If you don’t find the right doctor the first, second or even third time remember it is okay! Eventually there will be one you love. Don’t stress yourself, just take the time and you’ll come to the right decision. Also, just like all other parts of motherhood — allow no one to sway your decision (except for Dad of course haha). You know what’s best for your baby, trust yourself on making the right decision.
As a nurse, my son’s doctor was very important to me. By following these steps listed above I was able to choose the right pediatrician that worked for my family without too much added stress!
Take care of you too mama,