Pediatricians - Tips on Choosing the Right Doctor

You have a new baby and are already concerned about your parenting, toilet training, teething, and a host of other issues. You've researched local doctors on the web, asked all of your friends who have kids, and have read all the reviews you can find, but do you know what to look for?

You want the immunizations on time and you want to know what each one is for. You also need to take into consideration the level of care you will get as a result of your medical coverage. But you also want a pediatrician who will take the time to discuss child development and nutrition, and factors that affect parenting; such as worrying too much or not enough. More than anything you need a pediatrician who will validate you as a parent. This is an aspect of choosing a physician that most people won't tell you about.

The doctor you choose will be easy to discuss issues with. Take your time with this and feel okay about asking as many questions as you like. The doctor isn't doing you a favor by taking on your child as a patient; you are hiring them for a service. It's so hard to get good health care these days that most people-especially new parents-don't think of it like this, but it's true. You are in charge. Look around the waiting room; are you somewhere you can spend forty five minutes with a sick kid? Are the nurses and receptionists decent people who seem to like their jobs? Or is the office overcrowded and the staff overworked? How people feel about their working environment is a factor in how they will treat you, your child, your billing, and your records.

If you're still a little lost on the subject, jot down a few concerns before you interview the pediatrician. It's important that he or she see eye to eye with you on a topics that support your values, such as breast vs. bottle feeding. You also will need to know if there is an after hours help and question line for new parents, as I guarantee you there will be nights (usually around 2 a.m.) when you just know something's wrong and will want answers.

Most of all, the pediatrician you choose needs to have a good attitude. I remember when I was filled with questions on effective parenting, toilet training, and other concerns new parents have. I was very worried that my son still had "number two" accidents at age five. The doctor simply said "when he starts school it will get better, he won't be doing it by the time he reaches college." He told me not to worry, just keep loving him and dealing with it; most importantly, not to freak out on my son. He was right, my son is in the army now and I'll bet he hardly ever does number two in his pants.