Read on for how to search for a clinician for your baby. And, what questions to ask and things to consider as you choose someone to look after the health of your little one.
YOU’RE HAVING A BABY, NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND A DOCTOR.
Ideally, you would want to find a doctor for your baby, by the end of the second trimester/early third trimester and definitely after the anatomy scan as it will be important to bring up any questions with your child’s potential doctor.
First Decision to Make – Pediatrician or Family Medicine Doctor?
This largely will depend on where you are located. Some areas have Family Medicine Doctors who are capable of caring for kids. In the U.S., Pediatricians are heavily trained in everything from birth to 21 years, which is why they are preferred.
Regardless of if they are a Pediatrician or Family Medicine Doctor, it’s important you enjoy visits with them as well. So, ultimately, it really comes down to finding a doctor who meshes with your family.
Ways To Find a Doctor Near You
- Word of Mouth – This is honestly my favorite method and how I get most of my patients. Friends, family members, and/or coworkers can guide you to their Pediatrician. It would be nice to have a few recommendations and perhaps from loved ones who share your general philosophies on life and parenting, as the Pediatrician will likely line up with that as well.
- Your OB’s Office – Your OB should have recommendations for Pediatricians in the area. Usually they base this on names of doctors who come recommended from their own patients.
- Online – A simple Google (or other browser) search can lead to some recommendations. But be wary of online reviews. People tend to vent more online than provide accolades. Meet the doctor in person to make judgments for yourself.
- Parenting Groups – Joining a parenting (mommy group) on social media can help you find doctors in your area.
Once you have a list of names, you can call the office and ask if they do prenatal visits so you can schedule it, ideally in your second or early third trimester. During the pandemic, some may do these visits virtually.
You may want a visit where you are able to tour the office and perhaps meet a doctor at the practice. However, that is not always necessary.
Remember that it’s okay to meet a few different doctors to find the right fit for you – it’s a relationship that will last 21 years of your child’s life!
Questions To Ask: The Office Staff
- Do you take my insurance?
- What are the office hours?
- What if my child is sick after hours?
- Are there separate waiting rooms for healthy and sick kids?
- Is there a room for newborns and parents to wait?
- What are the approximate wait times?
- What is your practice’s vaccination policy?
- Do you offer same-day sick appointments? Walk-ins?
Questions To Ask: The Clinician
- How long have you been with the practice?
- Are you Board Certified?
- What do you like most about being a Pediatrician?
- What is your parenting philosophy?
- Will I always see you or will I see other clinicians?
- What are your thoughts on breastfeeding or formula? Are you an IBCLC?
- Which hospital are you affiliated with?*
- Who will round and examine my baby in the hospital?
- Do you accept emails? What about non-urgent phone calls?
*Many doctors have privileges at certain hospitals which means they can easily access medical records pertinent to your visit. If for any reason your child needs to be seen in an ER or admitted to a hospital, it’s a great idea to know which children’s hospital or hospital is recommended.
What To Look For: When You Visit
- Is the waiting room pleasant and kid friendly?
- Is the staff warm and welcoming?
- Do I like my doctor’s energy and personality?
- Does the doctor welcome questions?
- Was the office conveniently located? Did it offer adequate parking?
- Do other families seem happy when they walk out of the office/waiting?