Hiring a Pediatrician

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Hi there! We are back this week- focusing on some practical parenting tips after taking a week hiatus to march in DC. It was a thrilling experience to join in unity with women and men of all ages, to stand up for human rights. 

During your pregnancy one of the tasks you'll want to attend to is hiring a pediatrician. This is very important because you'll be visiting your Dr. often for your well baby check ups. So you want to make sure your pediatrician is good fit for you, your family, your parenting style, and is ideally also conveniently located and open the hours that accommodate your schedule. I know it’s a lot to ask! There are some key factors you want to keep in mind when hiring a pediatrician. Here are some top ones to consider:

Location: this factor is huge- mainly because you'll be going so often that you want the trip to be convenient. Also if your child is sick, you'll want the trip to the doctor to not be taxing. In New York City, finding a doctor within walking distance is great, but a stop or two on the subway can work too.

Breastfeeding: if you're planning to breastfeed, you may want to seek out a provider who shares a similar philosophy as you. Perhaps you can find a doctor who is also an IBCLC (lactation consultant). If your doctors office has a lactation support group or in staff IBCLC, those are great signs they'll be supportive of breastfeeding.

Sleep: it's good to be aware of your Dr.s view on sleep training and how they work with their patients. Some pediatricians offer parenting advice and recommend at 8 week that you sleep train your baby. If this doesn't sit well with you, you can easily decline and still work with your doctor. I like to give parents a heads up about this because for first time parents sleep training may not even be on your radar yet. 

Vaccines: If you're planning to vaccinate on the CDC schedule you won't have any issues finding a pediatrician. However if you're interested in doing a delayed schedule or in declining vaccinations it could be a little more difficult to find a care provider. Some pediatricians will only work with patients who follow the CDC schedule. Also some parents feel the most comfortable attending a Dr who require all patients to follow the CDC vaccine schedule.

Solo practice vs. group practice: There are pros and cons of both. With a solo or joint practice, you have the opportunity to build a relationship with one or two practitioners over time. It’s not uncommon for families to stay with the same doctor for many, many years. This allows your practitioner to really get to know your child. If you’re planning to move however, this might not be important to you. Also, solo practices typically don’t have the same flexibility of scheduling that a larger practice does. A group practice can be very convenient- they may have multiple locations, and a large group of practitioner. So same day appointments and extended office hours are very common. However, if building a relationship with a provider is important to you- this is less likely to be an option with a bigger practice, as practitioners tend to come and go over time.

Office hours: This is really important, especially for working parents, or parents with non-traditional schedules. You’ll want to inquire with the doctor you work with if they can accommodate your availability.

On call: Inquire about the after hours policy. Is there a doctor on call? Or would you need to go to the ER or urgent care if there was a health problem during off hours?

Insurance: last but not least, you'll want to make sure the provider you're planning to work with is accepted by your insurance. A good place to start your search is to get a list of local providers who are covered by your insurance. Then ask around for recommendations from friends and local parenting groups. See where there is overlap and start your search there. Best of luck!!

Jen Mayer