One of the most important decisions we make as parents is choosing our child’s pediatrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be seen by a pediatrician at 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Some pediatricians even recommend monthly visits until two years of age to ensure any developmental delays are responded to quickly.
The pediatrician you pick is going to be a big part of you and your child’s life for the first 2 years. Here are the 5 most important things to consider when choosing the right one:
1. Location, location, location When transporting a sick baby to the doctor’s office, every minute feels like an hour. Having to factor in extra time for traffic delays can make the experience even more stressful. If you ask a room full of parents, they will all tell you that proximity to your child’s pediatrician is what matters most.
2. Trust Make sure to ask for recommendations from your friends and your obstetrician, and take the time to meet with several different doctors before deciding on a pediatrician. All medical doctors are accredited but each has their own strengths and weaknesses. An interview is an opportunity to figure out how confident the doctor makes you feel about their abilities and this is how you establish trust.
3. Philosophy These days everyone has their own parenting style and a philosophy that goes along with it. You want your pediatrician to be supportive of the choices you make for your child, and to trust that the care your child receives aligns with your beliefs. Whether it’s vaccines, or a vegetarian diet, make sure your pediatrician is knowledgeable and can advise you on the best ways to care for your child using your chosen parenting method.
4. Availability Is your physician available after hours and on the weekends? Can you call them at their house? These are the type of questions you need to ask so you are prepared for the unexpected, as well as emergency situations. Just knowing that you are able to reach your child’s pediatrician 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a huge comfort.
5. Connection Finally, the personal connection you feel with your baby’s pediatrician can help inspire your confidence as a parent. This has more to do with personality than character. This person will play an important role in your life and the life of your child, so take the time to find a pediatrician you are compatible with. It is essential to creating a partnership where you know that you are both equally invested in the health and happiness of your child.