Choosing Your Pediatrician

Christine Sweeney, LICSW Program Manager, Parent Connection, BIDMC

APRIL 04, 2018

Pediatricians in a line

A funny thing happens when you get a group of moms together and they start talking about their pediatricians. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that not all pediatricians give the same answer to the same question. Sure there are some things—placing babies on their backs to sleep, using car seats—typically the issues that pertain to safety, but outside of those, there is sometimes subtle and often wide variation on pediatricians advice and style.

So how does one go about choosing a pediatrician? The American Academy of Pediatrics offers an option on their website where you can put in your location and get a listing of board certified pediatricians. They advise new parents to consider the following:

  1. Is the practice accepting new patients?
  2. Does the practice accept your particular insurance?
  3. Where is the office located, and what are normal office hours?
  4. How are patient calls handled outside regular office hours?
Learn more at The Healthy Children Show

Aside from these logistics, new parents often identify possible pediatricians by asking friends or family who they go to and start from there. But like any new relationship, sometimes you just don’t know if it’s going to work until you’re in it, and what might work for your best friend might not work for you.

Some families prefer a style that is “just the facts,” while others need a more interactive, engaged approach with more time for discussion. At the end of the day, you will hear some moms talk about how they love everything about their pediatrician, and many talk about how—while they may have small complaints—overall they are happy with their pediatricians general style, and things are working well.

Every once In a while, however, some families find that they are generally dissatisfied with the majority of interactions they have with their pediatrician, and then it’s time to make a change.

As new parents soon find out, the first year of a baby’s life, there are numerous instances where you are either at the office, or calling the office. For healthy adults used to the yearly physical with a primary care provider, this frequent level of contact with a doctor is not something with which they are familiar. That said, it is normal, and while visits do become less frequent as your child grows, the relationship you have with your child’s pediatrician is important because you will continue to have questions and seek his/her guidance through your child’s development. You deserve to work with someone that you trust and respect, and a good working relationship is vital.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.