Top 20 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician is a daunting task for parents-to-be. This person is going to take care of your baby and be your go-to resource in times of crisis. Just like you do with any provider, we recommend plenty of research into your choice and interviewing your doc. In addition to knowing who is close, in-network with your insurance, and what accreditations that they hold, you need to feel comfortable with them. This is a trusted care provider for your baby.
Start with the basics:
  • Who is in-network with your health insurance? Or, are you willing to pay out of pocket?
  • Who is close to where we live/work/childcare?
  • Who do other parents you admire take their children to the pediatrician? 
Armed with that list, get busy checking out their websites and calling them. Ask the front desk if you can schedule a consult with the doctor because you’re expecting a baby and looking for a pediatrician. The staff should be familiar with this process and schedule you a time to meet the doctor - usually over lunch or outside of normal office hours.
And now, the list:
  1. What’s the process for scheduling an appointment? Do I call or go online? Are same day appointments available?
  2. How long is your average visit? How long should we expect to wait before seeing you?
  3. When I have questions after hours, is there a call line? Will a nurse call me back or a doctor?
  4. When you’re unavailable, who do we see? Can we meet this other provider?
  5. Is there a nurse-line available during normal hours if I have questions?
  6. Do you have weekend hours?
  7. In an emergency, where do you have hospital privileges? What ER do we go to?
  8. For well visits, is there a separate waiting area? Do you have times that you typically schedule well visits - i.e. first thing in the morning or at the end of the day?
  9. Who will see my baby in the hospital/birthing center? When should we schedule our first appointment?
  10. What are your thoughts on vaccination? Do you accept alternative schedules or families who do not vaccinate? Would we be kicked out of your practice if we choose not to follow the CDC schedule?
  11. What are your thoughts on complementary alternative medicine? These can include: chiropractic care, homeopathy, naturopathy, and essential oils.
  12. How long do most of your patients breastfeed? Do you have an IBCLC on staff or to whom do you refer if I need help? How much education have you had with breastfeeding?
  13. How likely are you to prescribe antibiotics? Do you prefer to watch/wait/let something run its course?
  14. Do you support the use of supplements?
  15. Do you circumcise? Thoughts on staying intact? Are you comfortable with intact penises (no foreskin retraction, etc.)?
  16. What books (pregnancy, infancy, child development) do you recommend?
  17. Does your practice offer any unbiased educational seminars or workshops for parents?
  18. What markers of readiness do you look for when recommending solid food introduction?
  19. What foods/types of foods do you recommend for first solids?
  20. Do you have any information on safe co-sleeping or bedsharing practices? Is this something you support
Keep in mind that your perfect doc might be out of network with your insurance plan.  If you choose to go that route, also ask what their self-pay rates are.  Feel free to add anything else to this list. At the end of the day, you’ve got to feel like you’re in the right place and that this person is going to care for your sweet babe like you do.

 

Dr. Jamie Wuistinger, DC
BIRTHFIT Dallas