When you’re a new parent, one of the most important choices that you will ever make when it comes to the overall health and well-being of your child is selecting the right pediatrician (or health care provider). Although it would be nice if it was simply a matter of looking through a phone book or putting “pediatrician” along with your city into your favorite search engine and picking one, the reality is that it requires a bit more work than that.

We understand that it can be a bit overwhelming to even think about all that goes into making your final selection. That’s why we’re here; to provide you with five ways to know that you are choosing the best one for you and your little one:

Ask around. One thing about being in a “parent network” (even if it’s just your family members and close friends) is that they can provide you with all kinds of practical advice about what to do and what not to do, who to try and who to avoid. This would include selecting a great pediatrician. So, as you’re starting your search, you’ll probably want to begin there.

Do some research. Once you have a few referrals, it is then time to do a bit of research on things like the kinds of degrees they have, how long they’ve been practicing, and what their philosophies are when it comes to health care. For instance, there are some parents who do not want their children to have any more vaccinations than are legally required. If they have a pediatrician who is not passionate about their position, it could pose some real challenges up the road. Many pediatricians will state a lot of their philosophies on their websites. It’s a good idea to read them thoroughly.

Think about temperaments (yours and theirs). The great thing about selecting a pediatrician is that there are all kinds to suit various personalities. Some parents want someone who is a bit nurturing and soft-spoken while others want someone is more methodical and news savvy. When you’re thinking about the kind of pediatrician that you want to go with, you’re not just taking into account the amount of technical knowledge that they have but how their temperament will mesh with yours as well.

Don’t be shy to interview (more than one person). If you called someplace like a premier patient line for some advice on choosing the best pediatrician, they would probably recommend that you interview more than one person. That’s good advice because it helps you to decide some of the “pros and cons” that come with not just a pediatrician’s approach, but also their staff and office environment. Make sure not to become impatient during this part of the process. It can take a few months before you find the pediatrician that you’re willing to stick with for a while.

Watch how your child reacts and responds. Sometimes children will respond in a positive way towards one person and a not-so-positive way towards another. Being that you will have to entrust this individual to do your child’s physicals, give shots and run tests, you definitely want your son or daughter to feel as comfortable as possible. No matter how much you may like a particular pediatrician, if your child is crying and screaming throughout the entire visit (every single time), you may want to seriously consider looking elsewhere. Just for the sake of your own child’s peace of mind (and ultimately yours as well).

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