Who Will you Trust With Your Precious Newborn’s Health?
I was busy enough with a very stressful pregnancy and getting to all my OBGYN appointments, when one day someone asked if I had found a pediatrician yet.
Are you kidding me?? I have to do that, too, don’t I?? Where could I even start to find a pediatrician? Especially since this was my first baby, and none of my local friends had even had children yet.
Did you know that many pediatricians visit your baby in the hospital before you are discharged? And then baby has a 1 week old appointment, and on and on.
Parents Need a Pediatrician Lined up Before Their Baby is Born
I wanted someone who would see my child as an individual, and not a number. A pediatrician who would treat me as an individual, and not a number. And I of course needed someone I could trust, and who wasn’t a 60 minute drive away.
“As a parent, there can be a lot of anxiety about whether or not you’re doing this parenting thing right,” says Kimberly Meles, DO, a pediatrician at Metro Health Grand Rapids Northeast.
“Your child’s pediatrician should be someone you can share those fears and anxieties with, without judgement.”
Thankfully for me, my husband saved the day. He told me his beloved childhood pediatrician was still in practice, and only a few miles from our house. Case closed.
But what to other parents do when finding a pediatrician? I am guessing the “childhood pediatrician is still around” thing isn’t really common. Especially if you’re new to the area!
5 Great Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician
Dr. Meles says when she was looking for a pediatrician for her child, she began with recommendations from family and friends.
“A great recommendation from someone you know and trust is the perfect starting point. Then, it’s up to you to do the research and determine if that physician is a good fit.”
Dr. Meles shares some key questions to consider when determining if a pediatrician is right for you and your child.
1.) Is the Pediatrician Qualified?
“Your pediatrician should be board-certified,” Dr. Meles stresses. “Board-certified pediatricians have very specific training and education that is focused on the health of children.”
Dr. Meles encourages parents to verify a physician’s board certification online and says most certifications are through the American Board of Pediatrics.
2 – How is the Pediatrician’s Office Run, and is Your Insurance Accepted?
Will you see your pediatrician at every office visit, or are you likely to be seen by others in the practice? Decide what your preference is and whether the provider is able to accommodate that.
Does the practice have a separate waiting room for sick children? Also, make sure your insurance is accepted by the office and that you’re clear about how billing is handled.
3 – What is the Pediatrician’s Availability and Office Hours?
If access to urgent care, same-day visits or evening hours is important to you, make sure your pediatrician’s office has that availability.
4 – Are you and the Pediatrician on the Same Page?
“One of the most important factors in developing a positive and long-lasting relationship with your pediatrician is for you both to be on the same page when it comes to medical decisions,” explains Dr. Meles.
“Make sure your pediatrician’s philosophy about issues like breastfeeding, vaccines and antibiotics matches your own.”
5 – Do you Feel a Chemistry?
Dr. Meles recommends meeting with pediatricians in person to find out if you both “click.”
“Schedule a prenatal consult appointment,” Dr. Meles suggests. “It’s a 15- to 30-minute meet-and-greet conversation—that typically isn’t billed—and you can assess whether you and the physician will get along in the future.”
“The best piece of advice I have is to find someone you connect with,” says Dr. Meles. “That may not be the same physician your friend or family member loves, but it should be the person who best meets you and your family’s needs.”
There was instant trust and chemistry with my kids’ pediatrician. And over the years, I’ve come to trust every doctor in that practice. It’s extremely comforting knowing that even if my pediatrician is on vacation or helping another patient, one of his peers can jump in and care for my child.
Remember, You Can Always Switch Pediatricians
Dr. Meles understands that the process of vetting multiple pediatricians can take time, and most parents won’t go through a formal interview process, and that’s ok.
“Nothing is permanent,” she reminds us. “There is always flexibility. If you find a switch to another provider is necessary—for any reason—that’s perfectly fine.”
If you’re anything like me, you needed to hear that. I often forget that I have a choice, and that I can change my mind when it comes to the care of my children. It’s a pretty comforting thought!
At Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, our pediatricians treat you and your family like their own. We care for children of all ages, accept all major health insurance plans and provide experienced, board-certified physicians. Right now, Dr. Meles and other pediatricians across west Michigan are accepting new patients. To learn more and schedule an appointment, visit: https://metrohealth.net/pediatrics/ .