- Do you support breastfeeding? If so, until the child is what age?
- How do you feel about circum-cision, and do you perform it ? If so, how many have you done?
- What are your views on the use of antibiotics? How do you treat ear infections?
- Are you open to trying alternative treatments for some illnesses?
- How do you feel about immunizations? (Some parents choose not to immunize their children because there is a slight risk of a severe reaction.)
- Do you support parents in raising a vegetarian child?
- How do you feel about parents sharing the bed with their children?
- Are you trained to care for a child with special needs?
Even if you and the pediatrician don’t agree on every issue, you still can make the partnership work. But it’s wise to know from the beginning whether your philosophies are similar. “There’s no point in choosing a pediatrician with whom you’re going to argue,” says Jay N. Gordon, M.D., F.A.A.P., a pediatrician in Santa Monica, Calif., and co-author of Brighter Baby (LifeLine Press, 1998). “You want someone who will give you information but who also has the attitude you want.”
How is the office run?
When you visit the office, pay attention to the way business is conducted. Are staff members courteous and accommodating? Do patients have to wait a long time to be seen?
Also pay attention to whether ill children are shown into exam rooms quickly to minimize the spread of germs. A few offices have separate waiting areas for sick and well children, but this is a rare setup because many parents don’t want their child to wait in the “sick” room. Finally, ask parents there in the waiting room what they like and dislike about the office.
Making the effort to find a doctor for your child may seem like a lot of work. But consider that he or she will examine your baby at birth, treat her for ear infections and acne and may even administer her precollege physical exam. When you do find Dr. Right, you’ll realize it was time well spent.