Whether you’re new to the area or you just found that your child’s doctor is retiring, it’s not easy to find a new doctor. As a parent you want to make sure your child receives the best care but how do you know which doctor to choose?
Children are usually treated by someone who specializes in pediatrics. This can be a doctor (pediatrician) or a nurse practitioner for most health needs. A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of babies, children and teens. This type of doctor has had more training after graduating from medical school.
The best way to start is to ask your friends and family who they might recommend. Often they will have suggestions based on their past experience. Also, think about the location of the doctor’s office, the hours they are open and if they take your health insurance. Some doctors may not be open to new patients because they are too busy so you need to ask if they are accepting new patients.
But don’t just take the recommendation, do a little more research. You might want to know if the doctor has a private office, or if there is a group of doctors working together. With several doctors together it is easier to get an appointment when your child gets sick.
When you have a doctor in mind, you might want to schedule an appointment just to meet the doctor and his staff. This might include nurse practitioners who can often help with minor issues and giving your child immunizations (preventative shots) when your doctor might be busy with other patients. When you meet the doctor, you will know if you feel like you trust him or her with your child’s care. Be sure to ask any questions about the doctor’s background or experience so you can can know that you’ll feel comfortable trusting him or her with the care of your child.
There are many different ways to parent a child and often doctors provide information on the best way to handle things like getting children to sleep through the night or what to do about temper tantrums. Be sure that the doctor you choose gives advice you agree with or feel comfortable following.
If you are expecting your first baby, you should start looking for a doctor to care for your newborn child about 3 months before the baby is born. You could ask your obstetrician who they might recommend. It’s best to know who the pediatrician will be when you arrive at the hospital for your new baby’s birth. New babies are usually visited by the pediatrician within 24 hours of being born. The pediatrician will then have the opportunity to know you baby very well from the moment he or she comes into this world.
And finally, when visiting with the child’s doctor, watch how the doctor and staff interact with your child. Most pediatricians go into this area of medicine because they love children. You should feel comfortable with the way that everyone treats your child when you visit the office. A bond between a doctor and patient is special and will last for many years when it’s a good fit.