Choosing a pediatrician is more than just ticking a box because pediatricans don't just care for babies and toddlers, they also care for adolescents. Selecting a health partner for your newborn will give them not only the healthiest start but will support your growing child through each stage of their young lives.
Due to the long term relationship that your family would form with your new pediatrician, it is crucial that a few considerations are made to ensure you pick the right one. Here are five tips on how to find the best pediatrician for your newborn (and your family):
1.Location, Location, Location
When choosing a pediatrian, consider the proximity to your home or work. Is the office accessible? Is there usually traffic on the route that you intend to take? Does the office allow same-day or last-minute appointments? Are the office hours convenient for your schedule?
If it requires more effort on your part to get to the pediatrician, maybe you might have to look somewhere else. After all, you child will require frequent visits to the doctor therefore it should be convenient and save time. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can choose a doctor with offices easily accessible by public transportation.
2. Accessibility After Work Hours
Things happen and when they do, you want to feel confident that you will be able to reach your pediatrician in the times when you need them the most. Can you contact your pediatrician, nurse or hospital in an emergency?
Our pediatrician responds to our concerns and queries via WhatsApp after hours (and even during the work day) and this has been a game changer for us. Her prompt responses have given us the peace of mind that we so greatly appreciated in times of distress.
3. Solo or Practice
It's important to note is the pediatrician works solo or as part of a group practice. If the doctor works solo, how will your child get care when their main health care provider is not available? Remember, doctors are human too, they fall sick, they have emergencies and they take vacation. Typically solo practitioners will recommend you to another pediatrician during the time that they are inaccessible. Within group practices, typically your pediatrician of choice will refer you to another within the same practice.
In each situation, ensure that you are also comfortable with the doctor that you will be referred to.
4. The Power of Recommendations
Do not be afraid to ask for recommendations when choosing your pediatrician. Tap into the parental grapevine and seek professional advice from your OB-GYN - after all, after a few months of visiting your doctor, you would have built a level of trust.
Also reach out to other moms, colleagues and neighbors as they will have a wealth of information and personal experiences that can assist you in making the right decision.
Remember, experiences can vary from person to person, therefore be objective in the information that you acquire.
5. Admitting Privileges
Hospital admitting privileges are the rights granted to a doctor by a hospital to admit patients to that particular hospital.
Some pediatricians will visit your baby shortly after delivery for a checkup and this is why admitting privileges are important. If not, your baby will have the first checkup from a hospital-affiliated doctor and then have another checkup at your pediatrician’s office about 5 days after delivery.
We were very fortunate to have our pediatrician in the operating room when I delivered both my children via c-section at the Bayview Hospital in Barbados. Furthermore, she checked in on myself and the baby each morning until I was discharged from the hospital.
6. Communication & Compatibility
Seek a pediatrician who communicates well. They should listen, explain in layman's terms, and gel well with your parental instincts. After all, you need to feel that you can talk to your pediatrician honestly and that they are not biasis to their own believes which in turn provides you with the confidence to follow your gut as a parent and that your approach in caring for your child will always be considered.
It's important to be compatible with your future pediatrician because your pediatrician will be your partner and advisor when caring for your child for the rest of their young lives.
Ultimately, trust your parental instincts. If something feels off or if the pediatrician's vibe clashes with yours, it might not be the perfect fit!
If you are expecting, 3 months away from your due date is a great time to begin your research into finding the perfect pediation for you and your family and do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you need to! On the other hand, if you already have a pediatrician but do not believe they are the right fit for you and your family, do not be afraid to make the necessary changes to ensure you have right doctor for your family.