Questions for Pediatrician

posted 1 month ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
Member
12326 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I honestly can’t think of anything I had the urging need to ask before my 2 kids were born, or even immediately after.   The only things I reallly questioned was just if something happening was “normal” – like eating, sleeping or pooping habits, but even then, it was never anything urgent.  

Post # 3
Member
780 posts
Busy bee

I think the meet and greet is a great opportunity to make sure that you and the pediatrician are on the same page about anything you feel strongly about.  For us, that meant making sure our pediatrican didn’t allow any alternative/delayed vaccine schedules for his patients, that he wasn’t going to peddle the “breast is best” myths, that he would have no problem with our decisions not to circumsize, etc.  

One thing that I did not fully appreciate about our ped until I was an anxious mom, was having someone calm, measured, and not afraid to give you a little bit of shit / have a good sense of humor.  My daughter was SUPER colicky – like cried all.the.time.  I remember she was about 8 weeks old and we were in there and she is screaming her head off.  My husband was irrationally anti me having alcohol while BFing, so I asked our ped “Is it okay for me to have some wine even though I am breastfeeding?”  Our ped took one look at our screaming daughter and said “If I had to live with that, I’d need several bourbons a day.  You’re fine to have some wine.”

Now basically all my friends take my kids to him, and we exchange stories of his snark. It’s excellent.  

Post # 4
Member
1536 posts
Bumble bee

You’re going to be your baby’s advocate.  Treat this like you’d treat a meet and greet with a new doctor of your own, think of the kinds of questions you’d want to ask them to see if they’re a good match for you.  Tailor the questions to that of your soon to be born baby.  The one thing I ask any doctor of mine is how to get in touch with them during non-regular working hours if something urgent comes up.  With a baby, I’d also ask about their approach toward common ills such as viral (hopefully non-COVID!) sickness and infections.  Do they like drugs or do they like non-pharmaceutical interventions?

Post # 5
Member
13782 posts
Honey Beekeeper

I already knew how long our pediatrician had been in practice, where he got his training, and that he took our insurance, but it’s important to interview if for no other reason than to see the office, the set up, meet the staff, and get a sense for the doctor’s communication style and to see if it’s a good fit. A separate sick waiting room was a bonus, or alternatively getting sick children into exam rooms right away. 

You can easily look up sample questions online. Of the ones  commonly recommended, I remember asking about philosophy about antibiotics, feeding, sleep training, and supplementing. I wanted to know whether he visited the baby in the hospital, which hospitals he admitted to, the other doctors in the practice and how they handled routine vs. sick or emergency visits or calls. Do you primarily see one doctor or whoever is available? How far in advance do appointments need to be scheduled? 

For routine Qs, is there a designated call in time? If a solo practice who covers? What is the schedule of newborn and infant visits? 

Post # 6
Member
1163 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1995

I would ask how questions are handled at the office. When my kids were younger, we had to call in to speak to the nurse first. They would determine if the kids needed to come in to be seen by the doctor. There were times were the office staff would tell the nurse why I was calling and I had to wait for them to call me to find out what I was calling in about. Then they would check with the doctor and call back. It was a process.

Once my kids got a little older, it was easier to just run them to prompt care if they needed to be seen right away. One of the negatives of a small town was that our small doctors office was pretty busy. 

Post # 7
Member
2468 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

I would definitely be asking about their policy with unvaccinated kids – do they accept them as patients, and if they do, do they separate them?  

Post # 8
Member
2714 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

Like the others said, it just comes down to your own personal priorities. For us, that included the following: not accepting ANY patients who don’t follow the CDC vaccine schedule, an IBCLC on staff and doctors who don’t just say “supplement” if you face issues with nursing and want to continue, supportive of delaying solids until 6 months, Saturday hours, flexibility with who you see to ensure you get same-day appointments if needed, support over our decision not to circumcise/knowledge of intact penis care, and no judgment over new parent “omg is this normal” calls. Word of mouth is also big! I want someone I can trust, because trust lets you be candid about the real, messy bits of life versus just lying and pretending it’s fine. For instance, we have all the best intentions of following safe sleep, but also are realistic that a huge number of working parents turn to co-sleeping to just get by, thanks to abysmal maternity leave…I want to feel like I can always be honest about what’s going on in our home. 

We lucked out in that our practice has a nice packet they have you read before you even apply, and it allows you to get a general feel for how they do things. If you haven’t already, poke around their website, forms, etc to get a feel for their philosophy. It may help spur some questions!

Post # 9
Member
2248 posts
Buzzing bee

I wouldn’t count on having lots of questions prepared to ask at the first appointment.  I was so exhausted that I had to actually lean on the reception counter and take a breath from walking across the parking lot – I was that tired four days after giving birth.  I was totally out of it.

Now that we’ve had some experience with our ped, I’ve come to appreciate a lot of things about their office that could possibly help you:

– They have an emergency line where someone – not necessarily your doctor, but A doctor – will call you back within 30 minutes.  That’s been a lifesaver.  Their nurses are also extremely responsive and knowledgable.

– They have lots of different kinds of formula on hand to give you as samples if your baby doesn’t do well with some kinds (allergies, sensitivity, etc.) – this has saved us a lot of money in buying and trying.  They have always given us generous amounts.

– My pediatrician has worked extremely well with our other doctors.  My daughter has some other health concerns that have necessitated some specialist visits and surgery/hospital stays and my ped has stayed on top of it every step of the way – he’s reviewed the records already every time we come in.

– I agree with PPs about asking if they separate well kids from sick kids.

Post # 10
Member
3606 posts
Sugar bee

I didn’t know this was a thing. I think I’d use the appt to make sure you like the doctor from a bedside manner perspective. That goes for the whole staff really…are the front desk people friendly and accommodating? The nurses? You’ll be dealing with those people more often than the ped so make sure you get a good vibe. Because the last thing you want to be worrying about when you’re calling about your sick baby is some rude staff who put you on hold for hours and make you jump through hoops just to be seen. I have switched providers over this type of thing before even when the doctor was good, and would do it again.

I would also ask the office about after hours policies. I feel like the only times I’ve ever needed to call our pediatrician with a health concern it’s inevitably in the evening or weekend when they’re closed, or when we’re out of town. But they have a great after hours policy and a nurse always calls back within an hour or so. Also our place is always able to squeeze us in same day if we have an urgent issue so that’s been really convenient. Just one less thing to worry about when you’re stressed about a sick kiddo. 

Post # 11
Member
9315 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Agreeing with others to make sure you and the doctor align on values, but also make sure that they are convenient for you since you will likely be there a lot in the first few years. Things like breastfeeding support, sleep support, vaccine rules, are important but going forward you’ll find yourself needing lab work, x-rays, specialist care, etc – is that all in house or will you have to pack up the kids again and head somewhere else? What hospital to they refer to? For me I live just outside of Boston – I didn’t consider any pediatricians that didn’t have admitting privileges at Boston Children’s Hospital. I do not live 10 miles away from the world’s top specialists to not be able to use them!

Post # 12
Member
3606 posts
Sugar bee

View original reply
@LilliV:  Great point about the labs. If your baby has jaundice or anything like that, you may literally be going to the ped on a daily basis for a week or more right after the birth and getting daily heel pricks and weight checks (we had to do this with both our babies). Having everything in the same building made it a lot less heinous (still pretty heinous though).

Post # 13
Member
9315 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
@emilyofnewmoon:  exactly. I had to do that with my first AND we were having breastfeeding issues. One of the nurse practitioners at my pediatrician’s office is also an IBCLC. They booked all of our weight checks with her so we didn’t have to find an independent lactation consultant and then argue with insurance about payment. I saw her every other day for the first week or two and it’s the primary reason we were successful with breastfeeding. The lab was down the hall. I cannot imagine how much it would have sucked if the lactation consultant, weight check, and lab work were three separate appointments every couple of days! 

Post # 14
Member
7973 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

do they have an IBCLC on staff?

is there a doctor on call 24/7?

what is the process for sick visits?

if your ped isn’t available are you able to make appts with another ped on staff for well visits or sick visits?

 

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