babyMaternity Magazine
Creative Child

5 Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

by Sarah Lyons

After your baby is born, you will visit the pediatrician often. In the first year, your baby will have seven well visits. Studies show that first time parents may visit their child’s pediatrician up to sixteen times before baby’s first birthday.

Your child’s doctor plays an important role in their life. Therefore, you’ll need to find one that is a good fit for the parents and the child. It can be a challenge to find a pediatrician that is right for your family. Here are some tips to get you started on your search:

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1. Start with recommendations

As a first time parent, or a family that has just relocated, it is hard to know where to begin your search for a pediatrician. “I asked other moms for recommendation. It’s a great way to see what names came up repeatedly,” says Jill Miller, a mom from Cedar Rapids, IA. Stacy Cook, a nurse and mom of three suggests asking your OB/GYN for a recommendation. “I figured if they were good enough for my doctor’s kids then they were good enough for mine,” Cook says.

Some parents, like Nathan and Wendy Hladky of Overland Park, KS, chose the same primary care doctor for the whole family. “All four of us use the same doctor. It is super convenient,” says Nathan.

Another great way to narrow your search in a new area is to call the local NICU and ask the nurses whom they would recommend. “The nurses are more likely to give unbiased feedback,” says Rodganna Avery, mom of three. 

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2. Cover the basics

First you must compare your list of candidates with your insurance policy. “Find out which providers are in your network; then start looking for reviews of those doctors online. Also check that the American Board of Pediatrics certifies the doctor. This means the doctor has passed a specialized test in pediatrics. If you choose a family doctor, ask if the doctor is certified in the American Board of Family Medicine. Family doctors are trained to treat patients of all ages, including children, but they do not have a specialty in pediatrics.

Next consider the basic office information that can be found online or with a quick phone call. What are the office hours? Do they have walk in hours? Will the doctor visit the hospital where you will deliver your baby? What hospital will your child be admitted to if needed? Is the office location convenient to your home, work, school, and daycare? Take these things into consideration as you narrow down your list.

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