Parents always want what’s best for their children, and finding the right pediatrician is crucial in ensuring they grow up healthy and happy. Parenting a newborn is very challenging, and you may find yourself visiting your pediatrician many times during your child’s first year. This is why finding one you can trust and who your baby is comfortable with is important. Here are some tips on how to find the right doctor for your child.
Why a Pediatrician is Essential in Your Baby’s First Year
Your child’s pediatrician will play a crucial role in his or her development during the first year of life. They will keep track of your baby’s growth, including their vaccinations and physical exams, which are critical to ensure they grow strong and healthy. When your child is sick or needs medical care, a pediatrician will be able to help you address your concerns. So, how do you begin finding the best pediatrician for your baby?
1. Do Your Homework
You can start by asking friends and family for recommendations. Most likely, they already have someone they trust. You can check for online reviews to see how other parents feel about the doctor’s office or clinic. Likewise, mom and other parent communities online may also have doctors to recommend.
If you find a pediatrician you are interested in, check to see if they are still accepting new patients. You’ll also want to ensure that they accept your health insurance plan and how much their fees will cost you.
Another thing to consider is their location and schedule. They need to be accessible enough that you can go to them regularly.
2. Confirm Their Credentials and Experience
When you’re considering a new doctor for your child, it can be helpful to get a sense of his or her experience and credentials. Use the following questions as a guide:
- Does this doctor have a medical degree? If so, from what school?
- Is this doctor board certified?
- How long has he/she been practicing general pediatrics (treating newborns)? How long has he/she been treating children with my baby’s specific condition(s)?
3. Determine if the Pediatrician is Responsive and Available for Appointments
It’s important to find a pediatrician who is easy to talk to and comfortable clarifying medical terms. It should also be easy to schedule appointments with them. Many doctors now provide online booking systems to plan appointments, manage upcoming visits, and interact through email or video calls.
Depending on your needs, you might also want a doctor who you can call anytime and who has flexible hours so that you don’t have to miss work or school every time your child needs care. You should also consider whether they have after-hour care available in case of emergencies during normal business hours (and if so, how much it costs).
4. Check to See if You Are Compatible
Researching and talking to other parents can help you decide if a doctor is ideal for your baby, but it’s not enough to guarantee a good working relationship. The only way to know if you and your pediatrician are compatible is by meeting face-to-face—so make sure to schedule a visit together before making any final decisions about who will care for your child.
If possible, learn about their philosophy of care and knowledge base and see if they align with your values. Use the appointment to ask as many questions as necessary until all doubts are cleared up so there won’t be any surprises later on.
5. See How Your Doctor Treats Your Baby
The doctor you choose for your baby will impact how they feel about going to the doctor. Children who are comfortable with their doctors will be more likely to cooperate with them for vaccinations and exams. You’ll know because your baby will appear relaxed, smiley, or happy during appointments.
Also, look at how the doctor treats your concerns and your baby. Are they patient and gentle? Do they listen carefully when you tell them what’s happening with your child? You’ll be meeting very often, so it’s important that your baby’s needs are addressed.