CSP Team Note: This article was originally featured on the Atrium Health blog. For more health and wellness content, visit AtriumHealth.org/DailyDose.
Looking for a pediatrician? Here’s some advice to help you narrow your search.
Whether you’re pregnant, new to town or simply looking for a new pediatrician, you always want peace of mind that your child’s care is in the best hands. But with so many wonderful pediatricians out there, how will you know you’ve found the right one for your baby? And what should you be looking for?
Reema Puri, MD, a pediatrician at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Indian Trail Pediatrics, has some tips that are sure to make your search for the right pediatrician a lot easier.
Knowing what to look for
Your pediatrician plays a big role in keeping your little one healthy. Not only can they diagnose and treat your child for common illnesses, but they’ll also manage immunizations and monitor things like growth and development. Your pediatrician will even guide you in your role as a parent and can answer all your questions about feeding, safety, breastfeeding and more.
A great place to start your search for a pediatrician is by asking family, friends and your own doctors for advice and recommendations. As you research and learn more, you should also consider the qualities that are most important to you in a pediatrician – and keep in mind that this can vary from one family to the next.
For many families, location is one of the biggest deciding factors. “Since there will be many visits in the first two years, it helps to choose a pediatrician who’s close by,” says Dr. Puri.
In some cases, your parenting style – or at least what you think it’ll be – can help you decide which pediatrician is the best fit. “Parenting style can play a role in the pediatrician a mom chooses,” says Dr. Puri. “For instance, a first-time mom will have many questions and may need more time and support from her pediatrician than a more experienced mom.”
Another thing to consider is whether or not your pediatrician’s office is connected to a pediatric urgent care, pediatric emergency department and other key children’s care services.
At Atrium Health, all your child’s care is part of Levine Children’s – a network of neighborhood pediatric offices, urgent cares, hospital programs and award-winning specialty care. And it’s backed by the expertise of Levine Children’s Hospital, named a Best Children’s Hospital in multiple specialties by U.S. News & World Report.
No one wants to think about their little one getting sick, but it’s always a good idea to check out which hospital your pediatrician is affiliated with.
Whether you want someone with the most credentials, who shares your beliefs, or who’s a parent themselves, the most important thing is to find a pediatrician you connect with and trust to care for your child.
The parent-pediatrician relationship
Your pediatrician is an important member of your parenting team, and like you, they’re committed to keeping your child safe and healthy for the rest of their life. The relationship your pediatrician has with your child and your family is long-term – and most pediatricians see patients from birth through adolescence and even into early adulthood.
Meeting potential pediatricians in person will let you learn things about your child’s future doctor that you can’t from online searches and phone calls. In fact, most pediatric offices offer tours for families to meet their care team and see the facility. “Families should meet potential pediatricians face-to-face before their baby is born,” says Dr. Puri. “This provides a relaxed atmosphere where you can easily talk.”
Whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or through a group tour, visiting your pediatrician’s office will let you learn more about your child’s doctor and the care they provide, as well as how their office communicates and schedules appointments. It’s also a great time to get all your questions answered – so don’t hold back! From how each pediatrician’s office handles after-hours care to their policies on things like vaccines and antibiotics, Dr. Puri says that moms should feel free to ask any and all questions during these meetings.
“The parent-pediatrician relationship is vital to your baby’s health,” says Dr. Puri. “You need to feel like you can communicate freely about any of your questions or concerns.”
Picking the right pediatrician can seem like a big decision – and it is! – but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just take your time, do your research and ask plenty of questions. You’ll find the best doctor for your child in no time.
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