A month or so back my OB happened to ask me if I had decided on a pediatrician yet. Hmm … about that … no I hadn’t.
“Well, it is best that you figure that out prior to the baby getting here,” my doctor urged me. “If you don’t, whoever is on-call in pediatrics will be assigned to your baby, whether they are covered by your insurance or not.”
Gulp … gotcha. Adding that to my smartphone notepad of the very long list of things I need to get done ASAP.
For a little background, we were in the middle of getting settled in our new hometown, so on top of sorting through boxes and getting lost on the way to the grocery store, I needed to find a pediatrician for the new baby and my toddler. Also, when I had my first child, we were living in Canada, which has their socialized medical plan. Whatever your thoughts are on socialized medicine, they definitely have a different sort of system than what we have down here. You only see a pediatrician if your child has a special health need, so everyone from the womb to the tomb sees a family doctor. And because of that, family doctors are in very high demand, so you find one accepting patients and you go to your appointments. There wasn’t much of a choice in the area I lived.
When I called the pediatrician’s office here, the receptionist told me to come in for a pediatrician consultation, and when I showed up for the appointment with my 2-year-old in tow, the nurse lead me into the doctor’s personal office. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a doctor’s actual office before. The doctor sat behind her big mahogany desk and began to fill me in on the benefits of their practice. She had a really great little presentation ready that I was sure she had probably given hundreds, if not thousands, of times. She was knowledgeable, experienced and put me at ease, and I have to say, my sixth sense (you know, the mom one) kicked in and I felt that she would be a great doctor for us.
But, when she looked at me and asked if I had any questions I felt, let’s say, ill-prepared. So when I got home, I decided to do a little research on what questions might be beneficial for other moms out there to ask when they are researching pediatricians (just in case you don’t have that super secret mom vibe quite yet):
- Ask about the actual doctor: How long have they been practicing? Do they have any specialties along with pediatrics?
- How do you reach the office/doctor when you have an emergency, or maybe just a question about something with your child?
- What are their views on breastfeeding/circumcision/immunizations/parenting methods? (if you have strong convictions about those topics)
- What tests/labs are handled in office and what is done elsewhere?
- How does the office handle billing and payments?
To be honest, the consultation was really quick and painless … except for my 2-year-old having a full meltdown about Spiderman stickers that the doctor offered on the way out (and we were almost out the door without making a scene, too!) Oh, and they gave me a free mama goodie bag with samples of various baby products and pamphlets, so, hey, we ended on a positive note—and I got some swag! All in all, a good morning!