After having a baby, a person whose number is the first on the speed-dial of a mom’s phone is perhaps the pediatrician. He is the go-to person when the baby sneezes, falls, cries too much, or just does something which is beyond the comprehension of the new parents. He is the doctor, the counselor, the pacifier (for the parents)—all rolled into one. Given how important this person is for you, isn’t it necessary that you choose this person wisely as well?
Distance matters. Like most things with a child—school, hobby classes, choosing a residence, etc—choosing; a doctor should also largely depend on how close the doctor’s clinic/hospital is to your house. After all, in case of a medical emergency with the baby, you don’t want to be travelling long hours before your child can get attention?
Look at the doctor’s attitude rather than degrees. With a doctor it is very important that he should have time to listen to you, answer your questions and make an attempt to bond with your child (after all you will be taking your baby to him at least 6 times in the year in the beginning). However popular a doctor might be, or carry a reputation of medical excellence, it is equally important that he should not be too busy for you/your baby. If he is, you may reconsider your choice. Also, does your doctor offer you choices when it comes to choosing a treatment for your child?
Availability is crucial. Is your doctor (or a member of his staff) available enough to answer your SOS calls or messages post work hours? How simple are the procedures to reach him? Is there a capable substitute for the doctor in case he is not personally available? These are some points you may wish to consider.
Networking of the doctor Most doctors these days work as consultants in multiple hospitals. This though takes a toll on his time has the benefit of his being available to you at different points. Isn’t that an advantage to think over?
Your parenting style vs his opinions. This though is a more qualitative issue and difficult to assess in the start, it is a point worth giving attention to. Doctor’s have their own ideologies and concepts of child health care when it comes to issues such as feeding, sleeping routines, massages, etc. While some doctor’s swear by cow’s milk and its benefits, there are many others who do not support it. Also, a few doctor’s may have a preference for age-old wisdoms whereas some may totally junk them in favor of the newer concepts of parenting. It is important to see whether this is in tandem with your own parenting style else you may end up getting confused about what to do.
Support staff The support staff of a doctor is what adds to his reputation. You don’t want to be sitting in a waiting room with your child that child unfriendly, doesn’t have access to water or a washroom, or has a nurse/attendant who is grumpy about dealing with children.
Child V/s Doctor Last but not the least, does your little one like the doctor?; We are not saying here that the little one should be given a choice to finalize a doctor, but a doctor whose sight sends the child howling, whom the child is scared of or doesn’t like for whatever reasons, or who the child totally resists going to may not workout for your family In spite of all the credentials he may be carrying.
In the end, while choosing a doctor correctly is important, it is equally important to have faith in your doctor and not change pediatricians too often.; It always works better if you stick to one doctor who eventually understands your child’s medical history totally.
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