A pediatrician specializes in the behavioral, mental, and physical care of babies and children. They may also cater to teens and individuals older than 18 years if required. If you’re interested in becoming a pediatrician yourself, you might want to consider an online doctorate pediatric nurse practitioner program.
Pediatric doctors monitor child development, perform physical examinations/immunizations, and diagnose/treat illnesses. Since you will foster a long-term relationship with your child’s pediatrician, it is crucial to make the right pick at least three months before your baby’s due date. Today, we shall look at key tips you can use to select the best pediatrician for your newborn..
What Should Parents Expect From a Pediatrician?
A pediatrician will care for your newborn from birth up to 18 years of age. During this span, you must take your child to their doctor for several wellness visits that ensure proper mental and physical development. The appointment nature will start to vary as your child becomes older. However, the first checkup will be scheduled within the first five days of delivery. Once the first checkup is done, the next appointment will be scheduled after a month.
You can then expect the following appointments every two months up until the baby grows six months old. After that, the appointment span will grow apart by three months until the baby is 18 months old and bi-yearly until the baby is 30 months old. After this, appointments will be scheduled on an annual basis. You can expect the following from your pediatrician on each baby visit:
- Physical baby examination
- Development assessment
- Shot administration
- Taking and recording baby measurements
- Question and answer session
- Discussion on safety and health topics
- Anticipatory guidance on child development and child safety and health
Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Pediatrician
- Office Location
The location of the clinic or office your pediatrician sits in is crucial as you will have to visit this spot multiple times during a baby’s first year in the world. Visits are typically frequent, with a gap of only two to three months.
Opt for a doctor that is near your home, workplace, or daycare, as this will not only save time spent on conveyance but will also make things more convenient. Make sure to opt for a pediatrician’s office that is easily accessible via public transport if you do not have your own vehicle.
- Consider the First Checkup
While talking to different pediatricians, ask them whether your newborn’s first checkup will be conducted in the hospital. A few pediatricians visit the baby shortly after delivery, but only if affiliated with the baby’s birth hospital. Alternatively, you can also have your baby’s first checkup by a hospital-affiliated doctor and then have later checkups at your desired pediatrician’s office around five days after delivery.
- Your OB-GYN may recommend a suitable pediatrician
- You can also ask for pediatrician recommendations from a primary care physician or family doctor
- Ask for recommendations from your friends and family (especially those that have kids and are already in touch with a pediatrician)
- Doctor’s Experience and Credentials
A pediatrician must be a medical school graduate, must have a state license, and should have completed a residency program. All pediatricians, however, do not necessarily need not have board certification. A board certificate is obtained through additional training and a voluntary process in pediatrics. Once complete, doctors are required to sit for an exam to get certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. A certification proves:
- Communication skills
- Medical knowledge
- Patient care knowledge
- First Visit
An initial office visit can help you decide whether a pediatrician is suitable for your newborn. Make sure the doctor you pick makes you feel comfortable, is willing to communicate readily, and is gentle with your newborn.
It is also a good idea to notice if your pediatrician takes a genuine interest in your child and is willing to familiarize you with unique issues your baby may have. Always listen to your gut. If you do not feel comfortable with a certain doctor, consider another pediatrician instead.
Expecting families are also often offered introductory visits by various pediatrician offices so parents can tour the clinic, get acquainted with the staff, and ask critical questions.
Questions to Ask a Pediatrician On Your Introductory Visit
- Is there a separate waiting area for sick and healthy children?
- How long does a regular checkup take?
- What hospital network do you use, and do you have any subspecialties?
- Ask questions about immunization, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, antibiotics, and circumcision.
- When should I schedule my appointments?
- Do you respond to email queries?
- Does the clinic allow last-minute or same-day appointments?
- What are the clinic timings and schedule?
- Is the clinic operational on weekends and evenings?
- Will your baby see the same pediatrician or separate ones if it is a group practice?
A baby will visit their pediatrician several times during childhood and adolescence, so it is necessary to pick a doctor you are truly comfortable with. This will not only ensure the best care possible, but will also allow your child to get well adjusted with their doctor as they grow.