When trying to find the perfect pediatrician for your precious bundle of joy, there are so many things to consider. In my opinion, the pediatrician should not only be a great doctor and work well with children, but he or she should also be a good fit for your personality and parenting style. Believe me, you will want to feel comfortable that your child’s doctor will be likable and take time to answer your questions. Trust your instincts!
Remember that you will likely only have about 10-15 minutes to meet with each doctor, so prepare your questions in advance of the meetings.
Common questions that can usually be answered by visiting the website for the pediatric practice or calling the office:
- Does the practice work with my insurance company? How does the office handle billing and insurance claims?
- Who covers appointments when my doctor is out of the office?
- What are the office hours? Is the practice open on evenings or weekends?
- Does the practice offer same-day sick appointments?
- Is there a doctor on call after hours?
- Does the office have separate sick and well waiting rooms?
- Does the practice accept calls for non-emergency questions?
Common questions to ask the doctor during an interview:
- What books do you recommend for new parents?
- Will you meet my baby at the hospital or at the first well child visit?
- What is the schedule for well child visits?
- What are your views on circumcision?
- What are your views on immunizations?
- What is your approach to educating parents on childhood nutrition and obesity?
- Will you take time to discuss my child’s development (social, behavioral, growth) during each well child visit?
- How much time do you usually spend with your patients during each visit? And, how do you handle first-time parents who probably have several questions during each visit?
- Why did you decide to become a pediatrician?
Questions to ask if you consider yourself more of a “natural” or “hippie” parent:
- If you are planning to give birth outside of a hospital:
- What are your views on home birth/birthing center births?
- How soon do you want to see a baby who is born at home/birthing center?
- What do you suggest a mother do for a breastfed baby that is having trouble gaining weight? When do you recommend a mother supplement with formula?
- Do you recommend babies be put on a strict feeding and/or sleep schedule?
- Do you work with any lactation consultants in Austin?
- Do you support baby led weaning?
- When do you recommend babies start eating solid foods?
- What are your views on an extended (beyond 1 year) nursing relationship?
- Do you support the use of alternative/holistic/natural medicine? Are there situations where you try alternative remedies before prescribing antibiotics?
- Do you support an alternative or delayed vaccination schedule? Do you work with families who choose not to vaccinate?
- Are you supportive of families that co-sleep?
- What are your views on discipline, including spanking?
- Are you supportive of families that follow a vegetarian/vegan diet?
Questions to ask yourself after meeting the doctor:
- Do you like the doctor?
- Was everything clean and kid-friendly?
- Were members of the staff helpful and friendly?
- Were you comfortable talking to the doctor? Did the doctor welcome your questions?
- Do you feel like the doctor will be supportive of your parenting decisions and lifestyle?
Finding the right doctor can take some time, so try not to settle for a doctor that you merely tolerate. Being a mom can be overwhelming and scary at times. You will want to work with a doctor who supports your lifestyle and parenting philosophy; talks to you about his or her concerns and medical opinions/decisions; listens to your concerns; and answers your questions.
What do you look for in a pediatrician? Are there any other questions that you would add?