The search is on! Take some time this week and begin the process of looking for a doctor for your little bundle of joy. Once your baby is born, it is his or her doctor who will come to the hospital and begin providing any needed medical care. Finding a medical provider that you can really trust your child's health care to is a huge responsibility, but also a great privilege. Remember, this is the person that you will come and see when your little one is sick and you are scared, so be sure to find one that you not only trust professionally, but feel comfortable with personally. Here are a few tips that may help you in your search for baby's new doctor:|
- Pediatrician or Practitioner? Decide whether or not you want your child to be cared for by a pediatrician, who strictly practices infant and child health care, or a family practitioner, a doctor who would be able to treat the entire family. Some parents feel more comfortable choosing a pediatrician because their training has helped them to specialize in the care of infants and young children. Others, however, prefer to take the whole family, mom and dad included, all to the same doctor. This can be convenient when the whole family comes down with the same illness, as one doctor can write a prescription for the whole gang.
- Check your coverage. If you have health insurance, start by identifying the names of all of the doctors that are covered by your plan. You don't want to take the time to find a great doctor only to learn that your health care plan won't cover his services.
- Location, location, location. After gathering a list of covered doctors, pay close attention to where their offices are located. When your child is sick or hurt, you don't want to find yourself having to drive for 45 minutes through rush hour traffic to take your little one to his or her appointment. Look for a physician that is close to home or close to your child's future day care facility.
- Ask Around. Ask other parents in your social circles which doctor they have chosen for their children. Often, the best way to find a great pediatrician is through a friend's recommendation. Other parents have seen their physician at work and can give you the inside scoop as to how this provider relates to and cares for children.
After creating a list of a few names that meet the above mentioned criteria call the doctors' offices and ask to set-up an interview appointment. Many offices will offer a consultation appointment for free or for a nominal fee. Then, be prepared to ask some of the following questions during your time together:
- What are your office hours? What if my child needs care on a weekend?
- How do you handle night time and emergency calls on holidays?
- How are appointments handled when children are sick? Do the sick children wait in the same room as the healthy children? If my child is sick, will he be seen the day I call for an appointment?
- At which hospital do you (or your group members) have full staff privileges?
- What is your advice about how to handle a crying baby? (This question will help you determine if you and the physician will share the same parenting philosophies.)
- What is your opinion of childhood vaccinations and the schedule at which they should be given?
After interviewing the different doctors, select the one that you feel most comfortable with. Don't however, allow this process to become too overwhelming. If in the future during the course of medical treatment, you begin to feel as though this physician is no longer a good fit for your child, you can always select a new doctor. Your decision right now is not set in stone, but it is important to have someone lined up to care for your sweet one once he or she is born. Be sure to let your obstetrician know which doctor you have chosen for your baby so that they can contact him or her once your little one makes her grand entrance.