“Dr. Linda, I’m due in 2 months and have not chosen a baby doctor yet. Can you give me some guidance?”
It really does take a village to raise a holistically healthy child. Your baby’s doctor will be an important part of the village (team) you build as you raise your baby.
You are going to be seeing a lot of your baby doctor over the next 2 years because well baby checks are routinely scheduled at 3 days, 2-4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9-12 months, 18 months, 24 months and then yearly after that.
It is very important that you feel comfortable with your baby doctor.
As a member of ‘team baby’ you want your baby doctor to have certain qualities:
You want to be sure they are well trained and up to date in their knowledge.
You want your baby doctor to be a good listener and a good communicator.
Ideally, you want to make sure your baby doctor will allow you to ask questions and then give you the answers you need in clear easy to understand language.
You also want to be sure you will be allowed to have a polite dialogue with the doctor if you don’t agree with their plan of action. You may want to ask: “If we don’t agree on something how will you handle the situation? Will you be able to take the time to listen to me and then explain the reasons behind your decisions?
You want your baby doctor to be prepared and have a good network of support partners in place in case you and baby have problems with breastfeeding, sleeping, colic, or even postpartum depression.
The best way to get to know your baby doctor is to schedule a prenatal visit.
This is a visit you have with the baby doctor before your baby is born. Some doctors charge for it and others don’t so be sure to ask.
Why schedule a prenatal visit?
- The prenatal visit is a great chance for you and dad to ask your questions and to find out how the doctor communicates with you.
- It is a great way to become familiar with the staff in the office and with how things are run in that office.
During this visit I highly recommend you talk to the Pediatrician’s nurse and, if possible the office manager. Besides the doctor, these 2 people are the most important people to know in any doctor’s office.
What questions should every parent ask?
Because the quality of the questions you ask determines the quality of the answers you get I have compiled a short list of questions you may want to ask. They should get you the information you need in order to make an informed choice.
Questions about the doctor’s qualifications:
- Are you Board certified?
- How long have you been in practice?
These questions should give you the information you need to be sure that your doctor is well trained and current in their knowledge so you can trust them to give you up to date information to support you in making decisions about your baby’s health.
Questions about the doctor’s healthcare and wellness philosophy:
- Do you have staff that can support me with nursing issues and challenges?
- If you are having a boy and have questions about whether or not to circumcise take this chance to ask the baby doctor about circumcision:
- How do you feel about circumcision?
- Can you tell me the pros and cons of circumcision?
- If you have decided to circumcise your son, you may want to ask: “What type of procedure do you use? ” How many circumcisions have you done? “Do you perform the circumcision yourself or do you have someone else do it?”
- Since vaccinations are so controversial nowadays ask the doctor any vaccine questions you may have. If you have concerns about vaccinating your baby be open and honest. Let the doctor know your concerns so you can see how your concerns will be addressed. If their philosophy on vaccinations differs from yours, ask them to explain it, you never know, you may learn something new that may be very helpful in your decision-making process.
- Ask them about their philosophy of using antibiotics.
- If you would like to use natural therapies and holistic methods ask the doctor if they have any training in the area. If they don’t have any, find out how they feel about exploring holistic therapy options.
- What insurances do you take? Do you accept our insurance?
- Will I get to see you every time or will I have to see whoever is available?
- What days and what hours do you work?
- Can I meet your partners?
- When is your office open? Does your office have evening and weekend hours? Babies have a bad habit of not respecting doctor’s office hours and do get sick in the evenings and on weekends! You need to know if your doctor’s office will be open or if you will need to go to the emergency room.
- Do you or your office take phone calls after hours?If you do who will call me back?
- Who covers for you after hours and on weekends and holidays?
- Do you usually have same day appointments if my baby gets sick?
- How far out are your appointments for sick visits? Well visits?
- What is your policy on walk-in appointments for a sick baby?
- If we have to go to the emergency room will you come to see us? To be honest most doctors are so busy nowadays that they just can’t do this so make sure that you find out which emergency room your baby doctor recommends use and take the time to go to and check it out.
As always, I hope you find this post helpful. I would love to hear what questions you think would be most helpful when choosing a baby doctor so please post them below.
To your holistic health,