Plus a discussion guide with 10 questions to ask any potential pediatrician.
We know it can feel overwhelming to find the right doctor for your baby, but it’s easier with advice from Dr. Tiffany Knipe, Motherly’s expert pediatrician and a mom of two little ones!
Here are Dr. Knipe’s 3 tips for finding the right pediatrician.
1. Start in your third trimester.
Start looking for a pediatrician in your last trimester. If you have local friends or family who have children, talk to them. Do they like their doctor? If yes, why? If they don’t, why not? What fits one family may not fit another. In fact, as you move forward as a parent this is a good message to keep in mind for all things.
2. Interview around.
If you live somewhere with a few local options, meet at least two or three doctors.
Get an idea of what features are found in all pediatric practices and which things are variable.
3. Ask the right questions.
Is this office convenient/accessible?
Remember, you are likely going to be traveling with a baby and baby paraphernalia, in cold or wet weather, and, at times, with a sick or fussy infant. You want a doctor’s office that is easy enough to get to.
Do they take their time?
If a pediatrician doesn’t have the time or patience for you before your baby is born, they are unlikely to have the time for you after.
Are there sick and well waiting rooms?
Ask your doctor or their office staff the policy for newborns and sick children. Newborns should not wait in a busy waiting room because of their susceptibility to infection.
Can you reach them after hours?
Is your doctor accessible? What are the office policies for after-hours? Babies rarely get sick Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. So, how will your doctor handle these situations?
What hospital is your doctor affiliated with?
If your child needs a specialist or an emergency room, does your pediatrician have a reliable network of physicians and affiliations to get your child the help he needs?
Do you have chemistry?
Much like choosing a partner or a friend, you should get a good vibe from your pediatrician. For overly anxious parents, your doctor should help to mitigate your anxieties (not exacerbate them). And for overly relaxed parents, your doctor should make it clear to you when to worry.