3 Reasons You Should Be Interviewing Pediatricians
Choosing a pediatrician for your child is one of the most important parenting decisions you will make before your baby is born.
Yea, you might work hard to build the perfect nursery or even spend many weeks and months debating baby names. But overall, what you also need to spend time doing somewhere in between all this is deciding who the future doctor of your child is going to be.
It's pretty standard for many families to ask a neighbor or friend for their referrals on pediatricians but I'd like to challenge you to begin where YOU are. For 3 very big reasons, you should dedicate some conversations with your partner to go over what's important to the two of you and why. Discuss hypothetical situations and how you might approach them and how your baby's doctor might fit into the scenario.
As you guys chat, I want you to consider this:
#1: Not All Pediatricians Are The Same
Pediatricians are medical doctors that have completed medical school, residency (years of training in wide ranges of childhood illnesses/diseases) and then have taken a board exam that provides them a license to practice. On another level, there are those who become certified with the American Academy of Pediatrics and others that also take on specialties (through additional years of training) in a particular area of interest like Asthma or Cardiology.
So when on the hunt, be sure to pay attention to the titles and certifications.
A pediatrician who has been seeing patients for years might be very different from one who is new on the scene. There is no right or wrong, good or bad - depending on your preference, but instead a doctor who falls in line with what you are looking for.
If you'd like to start your search for a pediatrician near you - check out this nifty search engine provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Healthy Children).
#2: Your Values + Needs are Unique to You
Have you met anyone who didn't agree with something you did? Or maybe who just had a whole different way of thinking than you that made it kind of hard to have a basic conversation? Your child's pediatrician is no different. Once you have truly considered the things that are important to you in raising your child and in life in general, you will be better equipped to decide how to incorporate another "voice" into your family.
Ultimately, you should be interviewing pediatricians whose values and goals in practice line up with yours. It will do you ZERO good to chase someone who has no interest or supportive knowledge in breastfeeding if that is something that is supremely important to your needs as a parent. You will want to spend time getting to know the backgrounds and philosophies of the pediatricians on your radar. Get to know how they can help you be the best parent YOU strive to be versus becoming a silent partner in the care of your child.
I mean honestly, you will spend quite a bit of time with this person over many years. And especially if you learn early on that your child has an illness or disease that will require frequent interaction with a pediatrician and/or pediatric specialist.
You'll want to be on the same page and moving in the same direction as your pediatrician.
#3: You will need their support immediately
Did you know that as soon as your baby is born you will see their pediatrician anywhere from 24 to 96 hours afterward? This person will be one of the first people you will come into contact with after giving birth - don't you want it to be someone who is fully supportive of your goals as a parent?
Think of it this way.
This is likely your first child and you are still experiencing new baby jitters. Many things will occur from delivery to going home to arriving at your baby's first checkup. Can you imagine the number of questions and experiences you will have in that short amount of time? There might be a lot going on. The transition into parenthood will likely go so much smoother if you've selected a pediatrician that you feel comfortable and confident with. You will NEED to be able to share lots of information and communicate in such a personal way that the personality and supportive role of your pediatrician is crucial.
Are you seeing now why it's important to interview your baby's future pediatrician?
While there are many great pediatricians out there, it's in your child's best interest and yours to be selective and thoughtful about who you will invite to join the village you build around your family. Though you absolutely have the right to swap doctors at any time, consider how putting in the work early on will decrease the likelihood of having to make a change a few months or even years in.
Now that you have a few notes in your pocket...