by Elisabeth Myrick and Elisabeth Nixon
Choosing a pediatrician can be a daunting task – whether you are pregnant or a momma of four. This is the person who will (hopefully) answer your sometimes crazy questions, calm your fears when your kiddos are sick and help guide the health of your child for years to come. Whew! It’s a bit nerve-racking just to think about! But never fear – we’re here with our top tips for picking the perfect pediatrician!
Clicking with a team of doctors is one thing. Driving across town with a crying, sick child (because their office is located in Winter Park and you live in Apopka) is another. There are great pediatrician offices located all over Central Florida, so make sure you find one that is close to home.
Designated “sick” waiting room
It may not seem like a big deal until you are sitting in the waiting room for a well-child check-up and a toddler oozing green snot coughs all over your 6-month-old.
Visit the practice’s web site and read up on where the doctors went to school and where they did their training. If they don’t readily disclose that information, that’s a red flag.
Are you okay with seeing a different doctor when your little one gets sick? If not, try and find a smaller practice – but remember that can lead to longer wait times. Also, make sure you are okay with a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant treating your child as many large practices employ them to ease the workload (Bonus: many times these healthcare providers can spend more time answering questions!).
Related to the practice size, finding a pediatrician’s office that offers lactation consultants or other specialized health care providers can be a huge help if you run into any issues.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
• Does the practice accept your insurance?
• Is the waiting room clean and kid-friendly?
• Is the office staff patient, friendly and helpful?
• What is the usual wait time for a sick visit and a wellness visit?
• How does the office handle after-hours questions or emergencies?
• Do they have weekend and/or evening hours?
• Is the nursing staff positive and good with children? (They give the shots!)
• Does the doctor seem to actually like children?
• Does the doctor welcome your questions and take time to answer them thoroughly?
• Does the doctor support any specific parenting philosophies that you may have? (vaccinations, extended breastfeeding, etc.)
• Do you know and like the other doctors or providers on staff, if applicable?
• How does your child respond to the doctor and other providers in the office?
The bottom line? If you ever feel uncomfortable with those caring for your child, do not hesitate to find a new doctor. Sometimes a pediatrician who is wonderful with older kids isn’t so great at helping calm a new mom’s worries. Trust your judgment and you will find the right doctor for your family!