If you are in the market for a pediatrician due to pregnancy, relocation, or any other reason- the search may seem overwhelming. Do a quick search and dozens of options will likely present themselves. Not only is the sheer volume of choices overwhelming, but the WEIGHT of the decision can also feel heavy on your shoulders. After all, how do you make the right choice on something SO important?
This will be the office and doctor you trust with your child’s health and wellbeing. We listen to your concerns and help you make those tough decisions as they come based on your child’s medical, developmental, and social growth.
I have a few suggestions to help you sort through all of your options and make the most educated decision for your family’s needs.
1.) Ask your Friends who they Like.
The vast majority of my new patients come from word of mouth and for good reason. Fellow parents love sharing who has helped them through some of the best and toughest moments of parenthood. I feel so honored when parents recommend me to their friends and it shows what an immense amount of trust they have in me. It also makes me really proud when I see my name or my partners’ names on a social media recommendation. It’s an important decision and hopefully a long-lasting relationship so ask those whom you trust for their advice.
2.) Look at Availability.
Sometimes doctors’ schedules are so full he or she cannot accommodate new patients. Don’t look at this as a negative, but as a sign the pediatrician knows his limits and doesn’t want his current patients to feel short-changed! Therefore, before you dive deep on any one potential candidate- call their office to confirm you can get onto their patient panel. Along the same lines of availability, most offices understand parents’ schedules are busy! Are they able to accommodate your schedule? Is it easy enough to get in for same day sick visits? During the winter, we have over 100 same-day sick spots because parents want their kids seen when they’re sick with little delay. Our most popular appointment times are actually in the evening. Parents can get in together with their child after work for a sick visit or a checkup! Find somewhere that works for your family’s schedule.
3.) Schedule a Prenatal Consult.
This is a great opportunity before the big day to see if your personalities jive together. Everyone is different – some want an authoritative, prescriptive figure as their baby’s doctor- other parents want someone they call by their first name, who they can give hugs to when they start the visit and have a more friendly relationship with. Most parents want somewhere in the middle. Ask all the questions you’re wondering and see how you get along. At prenatal visits with my families, I talk about what to expect in the hospital, how our office works, and what to do if your child is sick or you have a question. I tell them about my philosophies on medical care, parenting, antibiotic use, and so-on.
It’s also a great chance for me to get to know parents before I see them in their most tired, delirious days of their entire lives- and I tell them I won’t hold it against them if they don’t remember when I stop by in the hospital because they’re so exhausted and reassure them that we go over things enough times that even if they forget once or twice they’ll hear it again.
If you can’t get a prenatal appointment scheduled- don’t fret. The majority of my new parents in-fact don’t make it in and I get to meet them along with their new bundle of joy at the same time- which is just as great.
4.) Don’t overthink it.
Choosing a pediatrician can seem like such a monumental decision because you (hopefully) had a wonderful and caring doctor throughout childhood who likely played a large role in that part of your life. The nice thing is you will have plenty of time to forge a relationship in those first few months since visits are more frequent. I’m always a little bummed, actually, when my patients turn two- because the frequency of visits drops dramatically and I become more likely to run into them at the zoo then I am to see them in the office. But, this is just a sign of the times, the advancements in pediatrics and healthcare, as well as a sign they’re getting older and staying healthy!
To help make your decision-making process even easier I’ve put together a handy checklist you can print off and bring with you to your prenatal consult or to ask your friends or your potential pediatrician’s office.
You can also ask any specific questions inside my Present and Productive Parents group on Facebook, where there are hundreds of parents waiting to lend you their tried and true advice and tips.
Good luck and keep up the good work!
P.S.- if you’re in (or near!) Lincoln, Nebraska and are searching for a pediatrician- you can contact my office here.