Being a new parent can be overwhelming, especially when making decisions about your baby’s health. One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing a pediatrician — there are as many as 3,810 pediatricians currently practicing in the US.
This person will help your baby grow and stay healthy during the first few years of their life, so it’s important to take your time and choose the right one. Here are some tips on how to find the perfect pediatrician for you and your baby.
Getting The Right One
When selecting a pediatrician, it is essential to understand that different types are available. There are various kinds of pediatricians out there, and it’s necessary to research each one to make sure that their specialization best suits your child’s needs. For example, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician is skilled at identifying delays in development and can provide intensive therapy. In contrast, a hospitalist pediatrician works solely in hospitals and specializes in stabilizing and treating newborns or children with severe illnesses.
Meanwhile, an occupational medic may help diagnose issues like ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, and physical health issues, and a neonatologist specializes in premature infants. It’s essential to consider what type of physician best fits your needs before selecting one for your baby.
One good tip is to consider whether the doctor is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Although it’s doubtful that the doctor is not board-certified, it still pays to check. A certification with the ABP means your list of pediatricians has met specific standards of excellence in providing medical care for children.
Find Out About Their Credentials
Getting the right one means a pediatrician who is both professional and comfortable to be with, with ample experience with both parents and kids. Check out online reviews from other parents, look into their credentials and educational backgrounds, read up on any awards or accolades they’ve received, and check if they’re affiliated with any hospitals or health centers in your area and how long they have been practicing medicine. Make sure that whoever you choose has experience working with infants and young children and an up-to-date knowledge base on child health topics such as immunizations and nutrition.
Read Reviews Online
Reading online reviews can also be helpful when selecting a pediatrician. Sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, Yelp!, Google+, and Angie’s List can provide valuable information about doctors in your area, including patient feedback that could help you decide which doctor is right for you and your little one. Also, you could ask around your community or online forums like Facebook groups to get opinions from other parents who have chosen this same doctor for their children.
However, consider that reviews should not be taken at face value; instead, use them to narrow down potential candidates or come up with questions for each doctor before making an appointment or signing a contract with them.
Schedule An Interview
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential pediatricians, schedule an interview with each one, preferably at their clinic. These interviews allow you to get to know them better and ask any questions on your mind. In addition to general questions about their experience and qualifications, ask about their policies regarding after-hours care, emergency visits, immunization schedules, and other procedures. It’s also essential to make sure that the doctor is someone you feel comfortable speaking with honestly about any concerns or worries you may have regarding your baby’s health and development.
Additionally, scheduling an interview will allow you to check how conveniently you can have the clinic’s high-quality pediatric care services, distance- and schedule-wise. It is essential to have access to these services promptly and readily, especially for emergency cases.
Trust Your Gut
When it comes down to it, choosing a pediatrician isn’t something that can be done through a checklist; it’s essential to go with someone you feel comfortable talking to and trusting with such an important decision as caring for your child’s health needs. You can take your time to research and do your due diligence so you can make the best decision for your child. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t make you feel at ease—your child deserves the best care possible!
Choosing a pediatrician requires careful consideration since this person will play an essential role in keeping your baby healthy during their formative years. Due diligence and trusting your instincts go a long way toward making an informed decision. These steps will ensure you find the perfect pediatrician for you and your little one!