Booties, bibs, and bottles fill the head of any new parent. The joy of parenting comes with great responsibility. Keeping a new baby healthy and happy starts with the right pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor will be alongside you for the milestones of childhood. From teething to talking, sneezing to shots, you want a pediatrician you feel comfortable with. The search for the perfect pediatrician can start once the decision to start a family has been made. There are many considerations when selecting the best pediatrician for your growing family.
Credentials are the place to start. A pediatrician must be certified in the special area of children’s health. Check for certification by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). If your child has special medical needs, seek a doctor who has experience in the area. Ask any potential pediatrician for areas of expertise that apply to your child or family. Accredited doctors can be found on the ABP website. Also, try asking friends and family members for recommendations. Once you have found certified potential pediatricians, you will want to meet them.
Office visits allow you to check out the office and doctor before deciding. Schedule visits with doctors who are currently accepting new patients. Consider the convenience of the location to your home or childcare facility. Make sure parking is plentiful and close to the building; a sick child should have minimal exposure to bad weather.
Examine the waiting room for helpful educational materials. The children’s play area should be clean and keep children occupied and interested. Talk with other parents to get an idea of wait time and appointment duration. The nurse can answer many of your questions about paperwork, insurance, and the office’s associated hospital.
Interview each prospective doctor. Be prepared with questions; don’t feel intimidated or rushed. Ask about the doctor’s views on parenting issues (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc.), after-hours calls, accessibility and advice via phone, and even why the doctor chose pediatrics. Observe the office for cleanliness, relaxing atmosphere, and up-to-date equipment. Select a doctor with whom you feel comfortable; you will be discussing very personal topics.
Take the time to seek out multiple doctors before you make your choice. Choose a doctor who meets your needs, and don’t disregard your instincts. You should start early enough so you can select your pediatrician by the eighth month of pregnancy. Remember, you aren’t committed to the doctor for life. If you move or encounter unexpected special needs for your child, you can always select a new doctor who is more convenient or experienced in a particular area. Being prepared and confident will ensure a happy and healthy childhood for your new baby.
If you need help finding the right doctor for your children, we can help. Talk to your obstetrician while you are pregnant and ask for recommendations. You can also use our Find a Physician tool to locate great MDs in Northeast Tarrant County.
Checklist: Choose the Right Pediatrician (Parents)
Choosing a Doctor for Your Baby (Baby Center)