On Selecting a Pediatrician

We have begun a new column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

 Q: When should I select a pediatrician for my unborn child? How can I compare practices and philosophies?

Dr. Kibler

Dr. Elise Kibler, Capital Pediatric Group, Austin

Response from Elise Kibler, M.D., Capital Pediatric Group

A:  It is best to select a pediatrician during the third trimester of pregnancy.  I would select one after visiting their office and meeting with them 2 or 3 of them.  Determine your own priorities for a good pediatrician and come prepared with a list of questions.  I think important items to discuss would include after hours contact with doctor, whether the doctor can see the newborn in the hospital, practice style of the pediatrician, and what the pediatrician thinks parents-to-be should know.  Doctors should have a way for parents to get advice and reach the on-call physician if needed.   Consider asking about the physician’s threshold for using antibiotics, thoughts on vaccines, check-up schedule, and ease of working in sick patients same day.

A pediatrician’s practice style can be that of a team effort, in which the pediatrician plays the role of a team member in the care of the child.  Their role is that of an educator and provide options in the care of mild illnesses.  Some options may include homeopathic treatments or a wait and see approach for things like congestion, and mild ear infections in older children.

A more authoritarian physician will dictate the way the child needs to be cared for, including a list of all treatment that must be done.  Some physician will dismiss a patient if the parents do not follow recommended management.  This style certainly plays a role when a child is significantly ill, but the parents-to-be must decide the balance they are seeking with their new pediatrician.

Parents-to-be should also understand if the new pediatrician is willing to discuss sleep, behavior, and parenting with the family.  Sleep can be very stressful for new parents, and a good pediatrician will help guide the parents to find an appropriate sleep pattern for the child.  Behavior is something that will come up with all new families, and a good pediatrician will help guide the parents in understanding what behaviors are normal or abnormal and ways of encouraging good behavior.

We’d love to see your question. Write Us!

Leave a Reply