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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Choosing a Pediatrician

Hellooooooooo, my lovelies!  Hope everyone is having a great Thursday.  For the first time this week, I felt slightly better today...let's hope this continues!

Now that we are on all of the waiting lists that we want to be on for childcare (interviewing of nannies/looking into that process can wait, since we wouldn't need care until next summer), it is on to another important topic: pediatricians.  I know that through my dramatic tendencies I have made every decision seem like it is of the utmost importance, but this one truly is a big one.  I will start out by telling you what is important to me in a pediatrician for my child:
  • Dan and I feel comfortable with them, and they talk "to" us instead of "down to" or "at" us. 
  • They are welcoming and open to questions.  They take time to discuss problems and listen to our concerns.
  • It is relatively close to our house.  The idea of driving 20+ minutes with a screaming and sick child is not appealing.
The list goes on, but I tried to narrow it down to the "top 3" so as not to bore you.  A lot of Moms have some concerns with group practices and prefer a smaller practice with one or two doctors, but I am not as concerned with that, provided that it works like my gynecologist does: you see your doctor by appointment, but know that in an emergency situation you may have to see someone else depending on availability.  I would prefer not to have 20 doctors in the practice, but I am okay with four or five, I think.

So, with all of that said, we began the research process quite a few months back by reaching out to friends in the area for recommendations on their pediatricians.  We were overwhelmed with responses.  We compared the list we got to the list of recommended pediatricians that was provided by my OB/GYN when we first found out we were pregnant, and narrowed it down some that way.  Finally, we looked at proximity to our house and were able to further narrow the list down to a manageable number.  So, now we have our list.  What's next? 

I have done a lot of research on this (I'm sure you're shocked), and got a very helpful article in one of my babycenter e-mails the other day that you should check out if you are a Mommy-to-be and have some time.  I always knew that once we narrowed the list down to a top 3-4, we would want to conduct interviews, and I am in the process of setting those up now.  The main problem I'm running into is: what kinds of questions should I ask?  And how will I know whether we've chosen the right one?  There are tons of checklists that can be found online, but honestly a lot of them are like 50 questions long, and I just do not have the time or the energy.  Plus, I feel like that is a little overboard even for me.  If I waltz into some pediatrician's office with 50 questions they might tell me they are no longer taking patients, even if they are - no one wants to deal with a crazy woman I'm sure.  I've started a list of questions based on the things that are important to me:
  • Which hospital are you affiliated with?
  • Will the doctor (or someone else in the practice) see my baby in the hospital or will the first contact be her first office visit?
  • How are appointments handled for sick children?  Is there a good chance my child will get to see her own doctor?
  • How do I reach the doctor if the baby gets sick after hours?  When my doctor is not on call, who covers?
  • How does the office handle telephone inquiries?  does it set aside specific times for parents to call in with questions, or is there an open advice line during office hours?  I know my pediatrician growing up had no rules around this - whenever there was a question, they never made my Mom feel uncomfortable about calling to ask, and they always got back to her after talking to the doctor that day.  I really like that.
There are more questions on this list that aren't as important, so I left them off, but you get the gist of what I'm trying to do here.  So my question to you is this: what types of questions are most important to ask the a potential pediatrician in our interview?  Are there any that are vital that I've left off my list?  And how will I know if I've chosen the correct one?  Are there other important considerations that I haven't thought of to factor in when deciding on a doctor?  Help!  Thanks in advance.  :-)

I can't believe another week is already ending, but I'm excited for the weekend!



  1. Sar - the questions are important - but not as important as how you feel when you talk with him/her. Believe me, I knew after 5 minutes with him that Dr. L was the man for us - and he was for 27 years! Trust your judgment - you'll know who you have a connection to.

  2. Agree with your mom! We use Oberlin Road. Love all the doctors in the practice.. affiliated with Rex. After hours/weekend hours have been great. You leave a message and someone calls you back fairly quickly (especially if urgent). I call the nurse line frequently and usually apologize for asking silly questions. They are always so nice and encourage me to call over anything. When you go into labor your labor and delivery nurse notifys the practice. The on-call doctor sees you in the hospital and you dont have to worry about it one bit. I have found that the doctors are very thorough but not completely old school. When Whitaker wasnt sleeping at all at 9 weeks, the doctor recommended putting a little rice cereal in a bottle and it was a lifesaver. I have friends that have more conservative doctors that said NO! So that is something to consider based on yalls wishes. Also, every time I have gone, I fill out a post partum depression survey and they monitor that. Other doctors I have found in conversations with my friends dont do that and they have no one checking in on the mom side of things. We have been to the doctor alot.. not sure if you heard but Whitaker fell off the bed and cracked his skull about a month ago. NOT FUN.

    Overall, I have been really pleased. Just wanted to let you know how things are there and some other points to consider.

    would love to get together with yall soon!!

  3. MP - thank you so much for the input! My Daniel actually asked your Daniel about the pediatrician and Oberlin is on our list! I did hear about Whitaker and I am SO sorry but hope that he is doing well.


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