How do I choose a pediatrician?

Depending on where you live, choosing a pediatrician can be super simple (“umm the only one in town”) or it can be a whole thing. If you live in an urban area, for example, you’ll have your pick of various pediatric practices, each one no doubt offering comprehensive preventative and medical care to your wee one. But which one you should choose is slightly more nuanced than that. It comes down to vibe, philosophy, bedside manner and so much more.

At the most basic level, all pediatricians offer similar services, such as evaluating your child’s development, educating you and them on safety and lifestyle, giving vaccines, diagnosing illness (and then prescribing medications) and identifying developmental or behavioral disorders. But pediatricians may differ on approach and they each may have their own opinions on everything from co-sleeping to diet and lifestyle. When seeking out a pediatrician, do your own recon. Start asking friends for referrals and details. Ask them if they ever feel rushed during appointments and whether their kids like going to see them (minus the shots). Ask how emergencies are handled on weekends or late at night and whether they feel respected as decision makers.  Then, schedule a few interviews with various doctors.

It may seem like a lot but you’ll get a feel for all the different vibes out there.
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Here are the questions to ask a pediatrician during an interview:

  • What is your educational background?
  • What hospital do you work with?
  • What is your philosophy on breastfeeding? Co-sleeping? Vaccinations?
  • Do you have separate waiting areas for sick kids?
  • What is your philosophy on medications and antibiotics?
  • If you are unavailable when I call, who will see my child?
  • Does your office accept my insurance plan or make other payment arrangements.