Story by: Kim Huston on January 15, 2021
Choosing a pediatrician for your first child, because you’ve moved or are looking to switch for any reason, brings up a lot of questions. Here are some tips for how to choose a pediatrician –– so you can build a relationship that works for your family.
Building a relationship with a pediatrician is crucial for parents. In a child’s first year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents take their baby in for at least seven well-child visits. Parents also could spend more time in a pediatrician’s office during that first year should a child develop fever, ear infections or any number of unexpected issues. Additionally, pediatricians screen children for a variety of conditions and make sure that children are growing and developing as they should. Establishing a lasting relationship with a provider you can trust with your child’s health can help you as a parent — having a person you can turn to with questions and your concerns for your child.
Consider starting your pediatrician search early during pregnancy. Starting your search early can give you enough time to do research, talk to family and friends for recommendations and talk to different pediatricians. Babies can come early — and once you’re admitted to deliver your child, you’ll be asked the name of your pediatrician. Choosing a pediatrician early allows you to worry less about “getting everything done” in the last trimester before baby arrives.
When families move to a new city or part of town, finding a new pediatrician can help them settle in to a new area. Establishing a medical home with a pediatrician for your child in your new location can help you make sure your child’s health care continues uninterrupted.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a pediatrician — they’re the provider for your child first, but also will help support you as your child grows. When choosing a new pediatrician, you will want to consider:
The AAP suggests parents consider a prenatal visit with a pediatrician for all expectant families. While these visits are not 100% necessary or possible for busy families, a visit can give you a chance to meet a pediatrician before your child arrives to ask questions and see if you’re comfortable with the provider and their philosophy of care. Many practices offer open houses for potential parents to tour an office and meet with staff and providers. Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatrician offices usually offer monthly “Newbie Nights” for families to tour and meet providers. During the pandemic, we’ve suspended in-person Newbie Nights, instead offering recorded virtual Newbie Night tours for you to get to know the office and some of our providers.
If undecided or you’d like to talk more with certain providers, consider calling and setting up phone or in-person interviews with your top choices for your child’s pediatrician to help solidify your choice.
There are a lot of factors in addition to the pediatrician to consider. Is the office close to work, day care or school? Does it take my health plan? Consider these when choosing a pediatrician:
Find a pediatrician
If you aren’t building the relationship you want with your child’s pediatrician, whether it’s a trust, communication or care delivery issue, it’s OK to switch.
“As a pediatrician, it’s my role to help families raise healthy, happy children into adulthood,” said Jennifer Porter, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Novak Center. “Parents should feel comfortable talking openly with their child’s provider to ensure they are receiving the support they need.”
Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, offers pediatric primary care at more than 20 locations throughout Louisville and surrounding communities, including Southern Indiana. Many of our offices offer convenient weekday, evening and Saturday morning office hours, as well as same-day appointments for unexpected visits. Norton Children’s Medical Group uses MyNortonChart, which allows parents to communicate with their child’s pediatrician as well as have access to all of their child’s test results, appointments and prescriptions in one place. Additionally, video visits (telehealth) may be available at select offices.
Meeting a child’s nutritional needs
Norton Children’s Medical Group understands the lifelong implications of child hunger as well as the barriers and challenges families face. That is why we expanded our prescriptive food pantry model to select Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatricians’ offices and Norton Community Medical Associates family practice offices.
Our providers screen patients for signs of hunger and food insecurity. Providers then are able to use the prescriptive pantry to provide families with nutritionally sound food as well as information on how to get the best nutrition with limited resources. The prescriptive pantries are made possible through generous grants supported by the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Community Foundation of Louisville – One Louisville.