Practical tips on how to choose a pediatrician….no matter what insurance you have!
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Now that I’m three kids and two pediatricians deep into this whole parenting deal, I have a pretty good idea of what to look for when it comes time to choose a pediatrician. Choosing a good pediatrician is like finding the perfect hairstylists (ladies you know what I’m talking about, the one with wine and fingernails perfect for the head massage, and she just knows how to handle those split ends without even asking). It’s almost impossible to find a pediatrician that you love 100%, but you can get pretty darn close.
Here are 3 tips that you need to help you choose a pediatrician!
They Have a Call Service
I didn’t think about this until I was up one night at 2 am, with a kid who had a 104.5 fever and I was able to call the number and speak to a real, live nurse. A very tired nurse that I’m sure I woke up, but a nurse nonethelss. She gave me helpful tips and assured me that even though that number might seem high to an adult, it really wasn’t for a baby so I didn’t need to worry.
By the way: if you don’t have a good thermometer in the house you need one! This is the forehead thermometer I use and its the best! Fast, easy to use, and accurate.
We ended up scheduling an appintment, but I was able to go to bed with the peace of having spoken to a medical professional at 2 am. When you’re looking around for pediatricians ask them if they have a call line that you can call after hours, or what they suggest you do if you need advice at 2 am, or over the weekend. The last thing you want to do is make an unnecessary trip to the ER because you didn’t know what else to do.
They Have the “Dr. Thompson Factor”
When I was a kid my pediatrician was Dr. Thompson, and he was THE best. I mean, I’m 32 and I still have vivid memories of going to his office for check-ups, he was fun and jovial, and just made you feel good, even after shots.
I’m sure I have a skewed view of him since I always got stickers and a sucker after a visit in his office, but I’ve always remembered him fondly and I look for that in the pediatricians my kids see.
Do they make us all feel at ease? Are they smiling and talking to the kids? That’s so important, especially as they get older. My son is almost 5 and during his appointments the doctor almost exclusively addresses him, and we both love it! My son feels involved in his healthcare, that’s important!
Do they make my kids laugh even though they’re about the get a shot? That is the Dr. Thompson factor. Both pediatricians we have taken our children to definitely had the Dr. Thompson factor, we love them and go out of our way to make our schedules work so we can see them.
Choose a Pediatrician that can Agree to Disagree
With our first pediatrician I did everything he advised us to do. Everything. I was a nervous first time mom and he was the expert, but by the time I had our second baby I had some different ideas; ideas that didn’t necessarily line up with what our pediatrician advised.
Like when I took my oldest in for his 4-year check-up and the doc advised me to be giving him skim milk instead of whole. However, my husband and I believe that our children receive valuable nutrition from whole milk and have no intention of giving skim milk instead.
But his advice wasn’t a deal breaker for me. Why? Becuase I can agree to disagree with him. He’s still an expert in a lot of things that I am not. I just disagree with his nutrition advice. Plus, it was just a suggestion from him, he didn’t pressure us or make me feel judged. The longer you are a parent the more you will likely develop your own opinions and approaches to so many different areas of parenting. It’s important to find a doctor who will provide you with the information and leave the room to make your own decision.
Bonus: What does your gut tell you? Go with your gut! So many of us ignore our first instinct and over rule it because we think we’re just tired or overreacting. But mommy instinct is real ya’ll, listen to it! If you take your kiddo in and you don’t feel 100% comfortable, for any reason, try a new doctor. Ask to see another doctor at the same office even! Don’t feel guilty for not going back, be your child’s best advocate- they need it!
Do you have any tips on how to choose a pediatrician? Share them in the comments below!