Six Questions Parents Should Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

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The pediatrician's office can be a vital source of education, support, and guidance in the first years of your child's life, and beyond. 

Getting to know your child's physician is an important first step in your parenting journey. Aligning with your doctor's practice style, care philosophy, and overall personality is essential.

To help you make the best choice possible, here are six important questions parents should ask their when choosing a pediatrician.

1. What is the provider’s practice style?

Every provider has a different style in how they practice. It’s important that the doctor’s care and communication style aligns with your temperament so you can both get on the same page about important health topics.

If the doctor-parent relationship feels supportive and positive, your pediatrician can be your go-to health coach for all your child’s healthcare needs.

2. What is the philosophy around vaccines?

With the rise of preventable childhood illnesses, such as the recent measles outbreak, it is commonly held that vaccines are an urgently important way to ensure our children do not catch a preventable illness.

Many doctors stand with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) in believing that childhood vaccines are highly beneficial and safe, and suggest that families follow the CDC guidelines regarding recommended immunizations and vaccine timing.

If you wish to vaccinate your child with a different schedule by delaying certain vaccines, your doctor should work with you on an approach that meets your values and goals.

3. Does my baby need a pediatrician or can my whole family see one provider?

Pediatricians specialize in babies and kids only, while Family Medicine Providers can care for the whole family. Both are great options. By meeting both Pediatricians and Family Medicine Providers, you can figure out what the best match is for you and your child.

Family Physicians will often see patients as a family. This gives them a clearer picture of the overall physical/mental/emotional dynamic of the family which can contribute to the overall wellness of a child.

4. What if my baby needs care and the doctor is not available?

It's not possible to expect your child’s personal pediatrician to be available 24/7. So, it's important to know who will be caring for your child when their doctor is out.

Emergencies happen and it’s good to know what happens when the office is closed. What is the access to care on the weekends or after hours? Are there 24/7 services available like Virtual or Telemed? Is there an emergency doctor on call at all times?

5. What advice do you have on helping my child to sleep?

Your doctor should put your baby's needs first, but also consider the parents’ needs. Are you night owls? Do you have flexible daytime schedules, or do you leave the house for a 5:00am commute? Are you experiencing any postpartum mental health issues exacerbated by sleep deprivation? Your pediatrician should work with your family to meet your sleep goals in a way that complements your parenting style and lifestyle.

6. What if I want to minimize the amount of medication my child is prescribed?

Having a flexible provider who is willing to work with your priorities is helpful in creating the best treatment plan for your child. Establishing trust early on can reassure you that your pediatrician will both address your concerns and always keep your child’s best interests in mind.

One Medical is a membership-based practice focused on making exceptional care more accessible for real life. Offering same or next-day appointments with family practitioners and pediatricians, online appointment scheduling, secure messaging with your provider, and 24/7 virtual care so you can always get help. One Medical’s family practice offices have kid-approved waiting areas, diaper changing tables in restrooms, a Nurture Room for breastfeeding and stroller parking. One Medical makes sure every aspect of their client’s experience is easy and stress-free. Brooklyn Pediatric Open Houses are May 21st and June 18th.