When the time came for me to choose a pediatrician for my children, it was very important that the man or woman I chose would be a person willing to answer my questions and address my concerns. I was so fortunate to find men and women in two cities who did indeed care enough to spend the 5-10 minutes needed to speak with me about my questions and concerns.
As infants, our children see the pediatrician much more frequently. As infants, children change literally day to day. I would make a list of my questions and bring those with me. I also had note paper and a pen with me so that I could write the answers.
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It was also important to me that the pediatrician I chose felt comfortable with my choices as a mother. For example, if I had a boy, I knew I would have him circumcised. Not all pediatricians support this choice.
I also wanted to know who would be on call on the days my doctor was off. We had one absolutely horrible experience. My own doctor was completely booked and they asked if one of the other doctors could see my daughter.
She was quite sick, had a high temperature and I didn’t feel that I had a choice but to say yes to seeing this other doctor. My daughter and I both strongly disliked this man. My daughter was shy. This strange man asked her to take her shirt off and she was old enough to feel modest and said no.
Instead of showing compassion, he instead looked this sick child right in the face and said “what’s the matter, you think I’ve never seen a little girl’s chest before?” Yes we reported him, however this incident caused me to change doctors and find a doctor who would see us when sick.
When a child is sick is when you most need your doctor. A well checkup can be scheduled for any time, but the non scheduled visits are very important. I wanted to know that for a sick visit, I would be able to see my doctor, not someone on call.
Interview a few pediatricians. Find the doctor who is right for you and your baby. This choice will make a world of difference as your child grows and changes.
Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.