This morning we changed pediatric practices. I’ve changed pediatricians four times since my first child was born, but this time we changed practices. The truth is, I didn’t know what to look for when Son was born and as I sampled Dr’s in the large practice, I moved around a bit. Two men, two women.
Our first pediatrician, Dr. M, seemed nice, well educated and was referred by a couple friends, but she only worked part-time so we frequently saw other doctors when my kids were sick. And then there was the episode when she said no, she didn’t need to see my 6 week old for the noisy breathing I described over the phone (we’re talking flock of seagulls here). When we later learned he had laryngomalicia, which led to learning he had mild acid reflux and explained the trouble he’d had breastfeeding, I switched doctors.
I’ll spare you the details of my next two pediatricians at the practice but say that the third was excellent and explained her diagnoses well each time we went. However, we frequently waited an hour to see her. That’s one hour with two toddlers in a hectic, germ filled waiting area then exam room when one or both are sick. Last summer, when Son was very ill, I announced to the nurse that I was taking my children down to the car and she could call me when the Dr. was finally free.
Thus began my search for a new pediatrician. I considered a male doctor in the practice (recommended by a new friend) but after growing up with a male pediatrician myself and dreading physical exams, I was committed to finding a female Dr. for Daughter.
That’s when I started to hear more and more about a little practice in town with two female doctors who had excellent education and great reputations. They made house calls! You could make an appt for the annual flu shot (no more waiting in line out the door for the yearly cattle calls at my old practice).
Well, I met the doctors today and my kids played happily in their quiet waiting area. They have books, toys, a kitchen, a train set. They spend time getting to know you and I know that both doctors will have a relationship with my children and be better partners for me in managing their health and well being.
1. Don’t just take the first recommendations you hear or go to the most talked about practice in town. Research everything that’s available and visit it. This is hard when you’re pregnant and working full-time. But if I’d known before I had kids how much time we’d spend at the pediatrician’s office after they’re born, I would have spent much more time finding the right doctor for us.
2. You don’t know what you don’t know. So, as you interact more with a doctor or practice, don’t hesitate to consider a change. This is also daunting when you have started to build a relationship with a doctor and are managing daily life with young kids. But, looking back, kids are most sick before they reach age five since they’re getting exposed to all the germs. I could have used the right doctor and practice earlier.
Are you happy with your pediatrician? How did you find the right one? Share your Mommy Truth.