Before heading to your initial appointments, be sure to have a list of questions prepared. You never know how little time you’ll have with the doctor, so be ready.
Questions to ask:
- What insurance plans do you accept? (best to ask this one before even setting up the appointment if you can)
- Where did you go to medical school?
- How many years have you been practicing medicine?
- Do you run a solo or group practice? If the pediatrician belongs to a group practice, ask if you will have an opportunity to meet the other doctors on staff.
- Are you available by phone for emergencies that are after hours? If not, is there someone else on call for emergencies?
- Are you available for non-emergency calls, such as if the baby has a fever or cold?
- What are your views on bottle- and breastfeeding?
- Do you recommend circumcision for boys? If so, what are the benefits and risks?
- What vaccination schedule do you follow? Do you allow delayed vaccinations?
- Will you come to the hospital to check the baby before we are discharged?
- Do you have separate waiting areas for sick and healthy children?
Assessing the information
After you have interviewed a pediatrician, you, only you, can decide if he or she is compatible with your parenting style. You may have certain religious views or personal opinions about circumcision and vaccinations so you should find a doctor that thoroughly explains these topics and respects your decisions. You should also ask yourself a few questions after you leave the appointment, such as:
- Was the office in a convenient location?
- Was the office clean and organized?
- Was the waiting area child-friendly?
- Was the staff friendly and knowledgeable?
- Did you feel comfortable with the pediatrician?
- Was the pediatrician open to questions? Did the pediatrician give thorough answers?
- Did you have to wait a long time before you could see the pediatrician?
If you feel uneasy with a certain doctor, don’t be afraid to interview other pediatricians. It may take time, but you will find the right doctor for you and your family.