A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Baby talk: Choosing a pediatrician for your child

Dad and daughter looking at laptop - Choosing a pediatrician

Start looking for your child’s pediatrician before he or she is born.

Many decisions must be made when you have a child, and one of the most important is choosing a pediatrician. Dr. Kathryn Schaus, a Marshfield Clinic pediatrician, said there is much to consider as you search for your child’s doctor.

“The first thing I would look for is a pediatrician who comes highly recommended,” Schaus said. Talking with neighbors, friends or your OB/GYN about who they recommend can provide you a list of names to choose from.

Schaus said it’s important to know the pediatrician is board-certified and to consider the location of the provider as well. When you have a sick baby, you don’t want to travel long distances for care.

“Also make sure the pediatrician is in your insurance network,” Schaus said.

The organization for which the pediatrician practices also is important.

“If it’s a group practice, you want to know if there are people to cover for your pediatrician if he or she is gone,” Schaus said. “You want to know if there are specialists at the practice and what kind of hospital your baby would be admitted to if necessary.”

Another consideration is if the pediatrician has children.

“I think it gives them that extra understanding of what it’s like to be a parent,” Schaus said.

Evaluating potential pediatricians

It’s important to know if your pediatrician is board certified. To find out, visit www.certificationmatters.org and search your provider in the site’s directory.

Schaus said you should start looking for your pediatrician during your pregnancy.

“A lot of times, people are so consumed with the pregnancy, they forget to look for a pediatrician,” Schaus said. “You want time to really think about it.”

Schaus said prenatal visits are available for parents who want to meet potential pediatricians.

“That way, you can meet the person, see the exam rooms, make sure you like the setting,” Schaus said. “Sometimes you know after meeting with a provider that you will click with them.”

If you are seeing a pediatrician and it doesn’t feel like a good fit, Schaus said you should feel free to try a new doctor.

People have the right to choose their physician, and physicians don’t take it personally if you decide to switch,” Schaus said. “If you feel like another provider would be a better fit, just make the switch.”

To switch providers, simply talk to an appointment coordinator at your pediatrician’s office.

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