Tips for Finding the Right Pediatrician by Atrium Health

April 16, 2019

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This is a shortened version of an article featured in Atrium Health’s “Your Guide to Pregnancy & Motherhood.” To read more, get your free copy of the guide

From eating the right foods to getting enough sleep and exercise, you’re doing everything you can to make sure your baby is healthy – but have you found a pediatrician yet?

You should start looking for the pediatrician that’s best for your family during the second and third trimesters. Choosing a pediatrician while you’re still pregnant is important, and you can’t leave the hospital after delivery until your baby’s first appointment is scheduled. Plus, by researching and choosing a pediatrician early, you’ll have peace of mind that your baby’s care is in the best hands from the start.

With so many wonderful pediatricians out there, how will you know you’ve found the right one for your baby? And what should you be looking for? Reema Puri, MD, a pediatrician at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Indian Trail Pediatrics, has some tips that are sure to make your search for the right pediatrician a lot easier.

Knowing what to look for

Your pediatrician will play a big role in keeping your newborn healthy. Not only can they diagnose and treat your baby for common illnesses, but they’ll also manage immunizations and monitor things like growth and development. Your pediatrician will even guide you in your new role as a parent and can answer all your questions about feeding, safety, breastfeeding and more.

A great place to start your search for a pediatrician is by asking family, friends and your own doctors for advice and recommendations. As you research and learn more, you should also consider the qualities that are most important to you in a pediatrician – and keep in mind that this can vary from one family to the next.

For many families, location is one of the biggest deciding factors. “Since there will be many visits in the first two years, it also helps to choose a pediatrician who’s close by,” says Dr. Puri.

In some cases, your parenting style – or at least what you think it’ll be – can help you decide which pediatrician is the best fit. “Parenting style can play a role in the pediatrician a mom chooses,” says Dr. Puri. “For instance, a first-time mom will have many questions and may need more time and support from her pediatrician than a more experienced mom.”

Another thing to consider is whether or not your pediatrician’s office is connected to a pediatric urgent care, pediatric emergency department and other key children’s care services. No one wants to think about their little one getting sick, but it’s always a good idea to check out which hospital your pediatrician is affiliated with.

At Atrium Health, all your baby’s care is part of Levine Children’s – a network of neighborhood pediatric offices, urgent cares, hospital programs and award-winning specialty care. And it’s backed by the expertise of Levine Children’s Hospital, named a Best Children’s Hospital in multiple specialties by U.S. News & World Report.

Whether you want someone with the most credentials, or who shares your beliefs, or who’s a parent themselves, the most important thing is to find a pediatrician who you connect with and trust to care for your child. And Atrium Health makes it easy to find top-reviewed pediatricians near you.

The parent-pediatrician relationship

Your pediatrician is an important member of your parenting team, and like you, they’re committed to keeping your child safe and healthy for the rest of their life. The relationship your pediatrician has with your newborn and your family is long-term – and most pediatricians see patients from birth through adolescence and even into early adulthood.

Meeting potential pediatricians in person will let you learn things about your child’s future doctor that you can’t from online searches and phone calls. In fact, most pediatric offices offer tours for new families to meet their care team and see the facility. “Families should meet potential pediatricians face-to-face before their baby is born,” says Dr. Puri. “This provides a relaxed atmosphere where you can easily talk.”

Whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or through a group tour, visiting your pediatrician’s office will let you learn more about your child’s doctor and the care they provide, as well as how their office communicates and schedules appointments. It’s also a great time to get all your questions answered – so don’t hold back! From how each pediatrician’s office handles after-hours care to their policies on things like vaccines and antibiotics, Dr. Puri says that moms should feel free to ask any and all questions during these meetings.

 “The parent-pediatrician relationship is vital to your baby’s health,” says Dr. Puri. “You need to feel like you can communicate freely about any of your questions or concerns.”

Picking the right pediatrician can seem like a big decision – and it is! – but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just take your time, do your research and ask plenty of questions. You’ll find the best doctor for your baby in no time.

Why wait? start your search now.

This is a shortened version of an article featured in Atrium Health’s “Your Guide to Pregnancy & Motherhood.” To read more, get your free copy of the guide