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How to pick a pediatrician

Christina Holt is a blogger and freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her husband and three boys. Christina uses her love of design, adventures in parenting and teaching background as inspiration for her writing on numer...

Selecting the right doctor for your child

How do you know if you’ve found the right pediatrician for your child? Can you tell from the moment you meet him or her? Do you rely on your gut instinct or do you need to dig deeper?
Selecting the right doctor for your child

Here are some helpful tips and things to think about before you select the one person you turn to for health care and parenting advice.

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Selecting the right doctor for your child

Consult your fellow mommy friends to see who they use -- or plan on using once their babies are born. Pay close attention to the moms who, in your opinion, are the most like-minded to your parenting style and beliefs. A been-there-done-that mom with a similar view on parenting could be your best resource when selecting a pediatrician.

Check reviews

Checking online reviews or reviews from other parents at playgroups and other social gatherings is another good way to gather information while researching pediatricians within a group or practice. Even though you’ll ultimately end up with one primary care doctor, if you select a doctor who is part of a group practice, it’s likely you’ll end up seeing the other doctors in the practice at some point -- for example, in the event your doctor is out of town or if you need to bring your sick child in the same day to see the first available pediatrician.

6 Tips for choosing a pediatrician >>

Get to know the office

Visit the doctor’s website, call ahead or stop in to gather all the office-related information you’ll need to make an informed decision.

  • Do they offer weekend hours?
  • Is there an office email address?
  • Are they affiliated with a local children’s hospital?
  • Is there a walk-in policy or designated walk-in time each day?
  • Is there a sick reception area and a well reception area?
  • Who do you call after office hours if you need medical attention?
  • Is there an answering service?
  • Are there on-call doctors?
  • Do they take same-day appointments?
  • What’s the turn-around time when you call the doctor or nurses with a question?
  • Are records kept electronically? (Making it easier to get referrals, see specialists, transfer records and obtaining previous medical or medicine records.)

Schedule a meeting

Example questions:

  • Is the doctor affiliated with the hospital where you will be giving birth?
  • How long after the birth will the doctor be coming by to perform an exam on the baby?
  • How many times will the doctor come to the hospital after the birth?
  • What is his or her stance on parent-led decisions (i.e.: delayed/alternative vaccination schedules, sleeping situations, etc.)?

The ideal time to start the interview process is while you are pregnant -- before your seventh month. After you’ve gathered the needed information to the point where you feel comfortable and ready, meet with a few different pediatricians face to face. Call each doctor’s office to verify they accept your insurance plan, and then schedule a meeting -- doctors typically schedule meetings around lunch, before office hours or after office hours. Make a list of questions to ask each potential doctor and then make a final decision based on who you feel most comfortable and compatible with.

5 Questions to ask your child's pediatrician >>

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