Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Choosing the Right Pediatrician

This is a post in a series I am writing for Huggies and BlogHer all about pregnancy and the first year of a baby's life.
Today is about finding the right pediatrician.
This can be different depending on whether you live in a metro area or in a rural area. Sometimes, especially in small towns, you may not have much of a choice. Or it could be a daunting task to narrow down a good pediatrician if you live in a big city. It is SO important to find someone you are comfortable with and trust with your precious child! And you may see a lot of him/her in that first year!
The first thing you should do is ask your friends with children. People normally have pretty strong opinions and pretty strong attachments to their pediatricians so if you have people you trust, get their advice. They can recommend someone. Word of mouth and firsthand experience is so much better than any google search. Something that is important to me is location. I know some people don't mind driving 30 minutes or an hour to their doctor but I prefer someone close by. Taking an infant or small children to the doctor can be a big task and it helps when they are close to home.
I went through a journey finding the right pediatrician. I chose someone that was close to where I had worked and who people recommended and very soon after that we had Harper, who left to be a medical missionary in Africa. Obviously we had chosen a great doctor! Ha! So we moved on to another doctor in the practice, but he also left that practice, and at the same time I realized that a friend from college had a practice very close to us and we chose to go to him and it was the best decision we ever made.
Something I like about our doctor is that he has four kids himself who are still young so he not only has knowledge as a doctor but also has understanding as a young parent. He puts me at ease by often assuring me that his kids have experienced similar things when I worry about something. He takes time with me and always listens to any concerns that I have. I'm not a hyphochrondiac at all--I'm probably on the other extreme-- but I feel like I've taken my girls to the doctor 1000 times thinking they "might" have an ear infection or some other kind of serious disease I've googled at 3 a.m., and he never makes me feel dumb when it turns out to just be a cold or a bad night's sleep. Ha!
Pediatricians are busy, but if you go to one who rushes in and rushes out and won't take time to listen to you or fully examine your children, I would suggest finding a new doctor. It's also important to find one that is not so busy you can't get worked in when you need to. Babies get sick and it's normal to feel concerned and that means calling last minute and hoping for appointments sometimes.
The nurses and office staff can also make or break your experience with your doctor. Our doctor has a very kind and welcoming set of people in his office and it makes a world of difference. Remember, just because you start out with a doctor doesn't mean you have to stay with him/her. There is nothing more important than your child's health and you want them in good hands. I am SO thankful to have a doctor I trust.
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