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.