Making Important Decisions for Your Child: Choosing a Pediatrician

Even before your child is born you will need to choose a pediatrician.  This is a very important decision for both you and your child.  Because you’ll find with the amount of visits you have make to your child’s doc in the first few years of their life, the staff and docs in the office quickly become your new best friends!

The best place to begin your search is by asking for your friends’ recommendations.  Ask your friends why they recommend their doctor and how long they have been with them.  You can also ask your OB what pediatricians they recommend or check withe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for a list of docs in your area.

Some things to consider when making your selection:

* Are they accepting new patients?  Does the office accept your insurance?
*  What are the office hours and do they have multiple offices?
*  How many pediatricians are on staff?  Will your child always see they same pediatrician?  May you request that your child only sees one pediatrician?
*  Do they have weekend hours?  Do they offer an after hours answering service?  (Because kids don’t just get sick during the weekdays from 9-5!!)
*  What hospital does the pediatrician prefer to use?
* Is there access to pediatric specialists?  Does the practice support families in coordinating care for their special needs child?
*  How soon will the pediatrician see your child after they are born?

We strongly recommend that you make an office visit to any practice you are considering.  A few things to think about during your visit are:  is the office clean, is there a separate waiting room for sick children, is the office staff friendly and helpful?

You may also want to interview the doctor.  Your pediatrician should never make you feel like any question or concern is too small.  They should take time to listen to you and validate your concerns all while answering your questions and giving you advice.

My family feels blessed to have a wonderful pediatrician caring for our children.  We first met Dr. Lee when he was on staff at the larger practice we first used.  When I was able, I scheduled my kids’ appointments with Dr. Lee, but he wasn’t always available and the practice preferred that the children saw different doctors each visit.  I found it was difficult to really develop a trusting relationship with a pediatrician when my kids were bouncing between 16 different pediatricians.  The care they received was excellent, but I was looking for a more personal relationship with my children’s doctor.  Dr. Lee now has his own practice and we followed him there.  He takes time to listen to my concerns, has an excellent bedside manner with my kids and his staff is patient and caring.  We couldn’t be happier with our pediatrician (and would recommend him to everyone 😉 )!

Finding the right pediatrician for your family may be a process, but it is well worth your investment 🙂  We hope our suggestions are helpful to you and your family as you decide who to trust with your child’s health.  Good luck on your search!

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