Thursday, November 6, 2014

How NOT to Choose a Pediatrician

Not just anyone's going to have a privilege—nay, the joy—of dutifully caring for your baby at every visit throughout their young life. You've read all about getting a wonderful pediatrician for your baby, you may have even made a checklist for an interview (you've scheduled) already.

You make sure the doctor has admitting privileges at your hospital, you google his or her name to look for random reviews and comments online. You read his or her bio, you check to see if the office has a Facebook page and hours after 5 pm and on weekends. Who answers the phone, and when? How long have they been practicing?

Is this doctor a complete kook? Do any red flags go up?

Or maybe your options are limited—you live in a small town or your insurance will only cover a certain practice.


Here's a red flag: Does the doctor engage with you? Is he or she fully present while visiting you? Do you feel rushed?

Doctors are people. They're very busy people. They're very busy people with highly demanding jobs. But they are also caretakers. They are THE expert in your baby's health. They're the people you call when you feel a weird bump on your baby's head, the people you look to when your baby is teething and you're not sure whether it's OK to give him or her Tylenol on the regular (FYI—It is.)

You shouldn't have to pry answers out of them.

Yes, in any case, you should be your own advocate, or in parents' cases, you must be your child's advocate. You must ask every question you can think of, bring anything to attention you think warrants it, even if you sound paranoid (you do, and you're just like every other new parent out there).

You must speak up when the doctor's not answering your questions, you must correct them when they get the facts wrong about your child, you must, you must, you must.

I must find a new doctor for my baby.

I'd felt before that my doctor was rushing through appointments. I'd given him the benefit of the doubt—he's human, he's busy, etc. But it's to the point now that I feel as though if there were something seriously wrong with my baby, I wouldn't be confident that he'd catch it.

I had to ask a couple of times at Lana's 9-month appointment about appropriate teething remedies. The doctor seemed not to really care. The nurse didn't get her height correct. The manner in which everyone who touched my baby was rough and rushed. No wonder she hates it there already, at 9 months.

After a not-good appointment, I stood in front of the receptionist as she spoke on the phone, waiting to make my next appointment. After a few awkward minutes, she told the person on the line to hold and asked me, "Do you want to make an appointment or something?"

No smile. No nothing. I, and my daughter, were a chore.

Do I have to tell you here that we're looking for not only a new doctor, but a new practice? I'm not sure what's going on at this one, but it's not good. It's not the group of people I want to trust with my daughter's care. I felt as though my OB's office was so much more caring and attentive—why, why, why would you make sure you get only the best care while pregnant but half-assed care for the child you dreamed of and took prenatal vitamins dutifully every day and then went through labor for?

Anyway. Any suggestions? I only know how NOT to choose a pediatrician.


  1. This is terrible. Proud of you for sticking up for yourself and Lana!

  2. Sorry you're going through this. We ended up switching pediatricians at 4 months. I loved our pediatrician but not the overal practice. She was so good with Garrity and had the best bedside manner but she and the practice was pretty traditional where I wanted a place that was on board with my delayed vaccine shedule and someplace that would think about natural remedies before meds. We ended up finding a great practice and the main dr is super smart but his bedside manner sucks. He even admitted that's not his thing which I appriciate. We now see the nurse practitioner for all her well baby checks and that's been the best fit. Good luck in your search and don't be afraid to switch multiple times until your find the right person!

    1. Thanks, Whitney! So glad we're not the only ones unhappy with ours...sometimes I can be a bit demanding, perfectionistic etc...but I have high standards! ;) Glad to hear you're happy with where you take Garrity now.

  3. That's hard. You don't want to seem like you're being overly picky or having unrealistic expectations but at the same time, it's your kid- you want the best for them! You want someone who cares. If I were going to pick out a doctor I would start with what you described in your post: finding out who insurance covers, then doing internet searches to see if you can find reviews. It's getting more and more common to find professional reviews and those would let you see what other families have thought about the practitioner. I've also heard of "interview appointments" where you actually interview the doctor and clinic to see if you want to work with them. It sounds like you know what you're looking for: everything your current doctor and clinic aren't!
    Good luck!
    A from

    1. Thanks! Yeah, we had an interview with this doctor, and he seemed rushed even then. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. No longer! I'll have to trust my mommy gut, too. I had thought I didn't really like him but also thought that wasn't the most important thing if he was providing quality care…but maybe they go hand-in-hand. Still not sure, but learning!

  4. We lucked out with our pediatrician. 5 out of 6 of our neices and nephews all go to the same practice and LOVE it. It was an easy decision for us since they were all delivered at the same hospital (so we knew the ped would be there). Our favorite doctor recently left but they hired a new NP that we like just as much. The best way to find a good doctor (of any caliber) is throught friends and family. Side note: my SILs and I all use the same OB practice as well...

    1. That's awesome that you have that! I was hoping we'd luck out, too. I got a great recommendation for my OB and loved her…and my OB recommended this practice. I think I'll have to tell her that I haven't been fan of this pediatrician, though, really). Unfortunately since we're the first in the family (and among friends) in this area to have a baby, we're kind of paving our own way. I may have to hit up our local baby/mom group for more recommendations. :)

  5. Ugh. This is so rough.

    I struggled with our pediatrician. He always brushed off things I said and had horrible "bedside manner". For instance when I took my youngest in for an exam, I expressed a concern for her weight (she was 2 years old and less than 25 lbs). He said not to be so worried... I just have one skinny baby and one plump baby (meaning my 5 year old who was standing in the room with me). I was so offended and was mortified he said something like that in front of my perfectly healthy 5 year old (seriously... she IS FAR FROM overweight).

    I went to my personal doctor and asked him for a recommendation. He gave me his top 3 and then I researched their ratings on the internet and chose my top pick - then went back to my doctor for a referral. I haven't been in to see the new doctor yet but I'm certain ANYONE will be better than our last doctor.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely week.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! That IS terrible bedside manner. You don't realize how important that is until you're in a position like yours; until you're horrified by the lack of it.

      Wishing you luck with the new doctor! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. This is tough. The first pediatrician we took Dylan to was in a pretty crumby looking office. After a couple of appointments it became apparent they were disorganized. His vaccination chart was wrong, it said he got things that he didnt and vice versa, and they couldn't remember anything we I googled, I yelped nearby people, and I made sure to pick a pretty office. Now we have a great pediatrician. Yelp helped a lot!

    1. Oh, no! What a nightmare. So glad you found a great pediatrician. I had no inkling to look on Yelp. Thanks for the tip!