Choosing a Pediatrician
Mara Paradis, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
I think the benefit of having your child see a pediatrician is that pediatricians bring a whole new level of experience to your child's care.
Children, we always say, are not small adults. Their acute illnesses present differently than adults. Their chronic illnesses are things that we deal with that are much different than adults, and being a pediatrician, that's all we do.
We see kids every day for their acute, chronic, their developmental issues and that gives us a level of experience that you can't find with a different type of physician.
When would your child see a pediatrician?
We see babies shortly after birth. We see all babies within the first 24 hours and then every day that they're in the hospital.
We then, after discharge from the hospital, will get your child started on a regular healthcare maintenance schedule, and that actually begins between the third and the fifth day of life.
After that visit, two weeks of life, two months of life, four months, six months, nine months, and 12 months of life, and that will take your infant through the first year of life.
The healthcare maintenance visits are the visits where we get to see your baby when they're well, when they're healthy.
We get to talk about development. We get to talk about vaccines. We talk about their nutrition, their sleep cycle, and any other concerns that parents may have.
How should families choose a pediatrician?
We love to have families come out and meet us prior to delivery of their baby.
It gives families the opportunity to come in and meet us, as physicians, to meet our office staff, and it gives us, as physicians, an opportunity to meet the parents.
To get to know them a little bit better and also to find out if there is anything going on with baby during the course of the pregnancy that we should be aware of from a medical standpoint.
Questions that parents should ask while they're meeting a physician, I think, one of the most important ones is, what is their philosophy in medicine?
You also want to know some of the little ins and outs of the office. You want to know office hours.
Do they have evening appointments available? Do they have Saturday appointments available?
What should you do if you have a question in the middle of the night? What number should you call?
If you have a question during the daytime, how does that process work? We make sure all of the parental concerns are being answered.
It's nice to know a little about the partners or who all works in the office and if there is any sub-specialty care available in that office that would add to the overall healthcare of your child.
I think the biggest factor in choosing a pediatrician is to find somebody that you feel comfortable talking with.
When it comes to your child, things that wouldn't have worried you if it was a niece, nephew, or a neighbor's child, you're going to find with your own child, it may provoke a little extra worry and anxiety.
You want to have a physician that you can really communicate with. That's going to understand your concerns and really give you that reassurance, when reassurance is needed, and to be able to give you that good, quality care when something beyond reassurance is just needed.
Choosing a pediatrician is just one of the many decisions new parents make when they’re expecting. Dr. Mara Paradis, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, discusses how to choose a pediatrician that is right for you and your baby and the questions to ask during a prenatal interview.