Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to Pick a Pediatrician You Love

My Children, Tallulah and Joaquin

As any mama knows, picking a pediatrician is very hard to do especially when you are a natural focused mama.  It is even harder when you have decided not to vaccinate your children.  I really liked this recent article on suggestions and tips on how to pick your pediatrician.  It is ironic that I read this today because I had a very disappointing experience today with a pediatrician.  We were not able to see our family pediatrician today so I opted for a newer doctor with the practice.

While I understand and respect the Doctor's right to give me his two cents on why he thinks it is importance to vaccinate, I do not respect the Doctor's inability to know when enough is enough.  The Doctor continued to mention all the "dangers" that may come to my children by not vaccinating them.  The frustrating thing always about these situations, is that the Doctor never asks me why I do not vaccinate.  Instead of respecting my role as a parent, they seem to feel it is more important to try and instill fear on to me with hope that will make me vaccinate my children.  They would be more successful if they would decide to have a dialogue about vaccinations with me, instead of preaching at me.

Anyway, we love our pediatrician. Yes, he believes in vaccinations but he also respects our choices as parents and acknowledges that we are great parents that clearly provide a home full of love, confidence and security. While we may disagree at time with him, he is always supportive of our decision as parents.

Check this list out.  It may help you on your journey to pick a pediatrician.

Here is a link to the article as well: Inhabitots Guide to Picking a Pediatrician

1. Make a list, check it twice
Buy a notebook, and on the first page, write down the areas of new parenthood which are of the greatest concern and interest to you. Co-sleeping, Breastfeeding, Alternative Immunization Schedule, Diet (vegan/vegetarian), Homeopathic remedies, Babywearing, etc. You will want to find a pediatrician who is on the same page as you with regard to your parenting style. For instance, many pediatricians are proponents of attachment parenting and are helpful in encouraging you to stand by your choices while on the road less traveled. Since sleeping and eating will (hopefully) be your baby’s two biggest areas of concern, find a doc who supports your plans to co-sleep, feed a vegan diet, etc.

2. Be a detective & take notes
Most pediatricians are willing to meet with parents for an informal interview/Q&A session. Take your notebook to every meeting you schedule and write notes including your likes/dislikes of each pediatrician with whom you meet. Also, arrive early for your consultation and get the general vibe for how the office runs. Is the staff accommodating and helpful? Does the doctor seem to authentically like his/her job and working with children? Does the office have separate entrances for sick and well child visits? Be sure to ask what the doctor’s on-call policy is, and make sure a doctor (whether it be your pediatrician or someone in their practice) is available to be paged 24 hours a day in the event you need them.

3. Location, Location, Location
The adage doesn’t just apply to real estate — you want to be located as close in proximity to your pediatrician’s office as possible. If  traffic congestion is an issue in your city, this can add considerable time to your journey — and if your child is sick, you don’t want to drag them on a road trip in addition to having to take them to the doctor. Also, during your newborn’s first year of life, you will be making frequent visits for weight checks, immunizations, etc., so you’ll want the commute to be convenient.

4. Make sure the pediatrician is covered by your insurance
Call your insurance plan to ensure that the pediatrician you’re interested in is indeed a provider on your plan. Get the lowdown on how many visits are covered, and find out whether you have to pay a co-pay for nurse visits in which you’re only visiting for immunizations. *Note: We opted for an alternative vaccination schedule in which we had to make more frequent visits to divide the number of shots administered per visit. Turns out, we didn’t need to pay a co-pay for visits exclusively to administer vaccinations.

5. Heed word of mouth and the internet
Google the name of the pediatrician you’re interested in, and you’re sure to uncover more information about them via experiences had by other parents. Additionally, local community online parenting sites and parenting networks often give referrals or steer clear warnings of doctors based on their personal experiences. If you have friends with children, ask them who their pediatricians are, and if they are happy with the practice. The saying “it takes a village” exists for a reason… reach out to other parents on your search.

6. Take the pediatrician’s gender into account
If you plan on building a long-lasting relationship with your pediatrician, their gender may be a factor to consider. Most children see their pediatrician until they turn 18, so if you think that down the road your boy or girl may be more comfortable seeing a doctor of their same sex during adolescence, choose accordingly.

7. Go with your gut
Listen to your intuition. If you walk into a pediatrician’s office and feel at ease in the surroundings, with the doctor’s bedside manner and the rapport between you, that’s great — but if you feel uncomfortable, like you’re being rushed, or that the environment is unsavory in any way, move on and keep searching. You will be discussing a wide range of emotional issues with your baby’s doctor, from poop to boobs to crying (you and the baby!), and you’ll need to feel like you can call them at 2am if the situation warrants it. So choose wisely!


  1. i gave birth to my first child on march 4th of this year, so this is a timely topic for me! i live in los angeles and we found that there were literally less than 10 pediatricians in the entire town who would agree to anything less than the full schedule of vaccinations. ours recommends a modified schedule but will do as many or few as we want. for mila’s two-month check-up, he recommends 3 and I think we’re doing 1. it’s incredible how hard it was to find alternatives and though this is a more costly option for us, i couldn’t be more grateful.

  2. Vaccinations are one of the hardest, if not the hardest decisions to make with children. Just follow how you feel and you will make the right choice. Thank you for your post!