My husband and I have been interviewing pediatricians because it’s important to have one picked out before the baby arrives. We decided that we wanted a Naturopathic Doctor as our pediatrician because an ND would most likely support our natural lifestyle (extended breastfeeding, flexible vaccine schedule if we desire it, cosleeping, attachment parenting, vegan/raw diet, etc.). I’m happy to report that we found one!
Our process for finding a doctor was in three steps. Step one: we asked around for referrals by checking with our midwife, doula, acupuncturist, and other families/friends. Step two: we did Google research on the recommended doctors to view their websites and any other information we could find on them. Step three: Together, my husband and I interviewed the doctors. As we interviewed them, I made sure they knew up front the kinds of things that are important to us, what our goals are, and gave them details about our lifestyle and plan for raising our kids. After that, we had a list of questions, some of which were:
Do you take our insurance?
What are your fees? Do you charge for phone calls? Are you accessible by email? Do you charge for email?
What ways will we have during office hours and during non-office hours to get a hold of you (cell phone? office phone? pager? fax? email?)?
Do you work solo or in a group? If you’re out of town or ill, who covers for you?
Do you offer any subspecialties?
What are your hours? Do you offer evening or weekend office hours?
Are you affiliated with any hospitals?
How often do you want to see the baby in the first year?
Do you have both a sick child waiting room and a well visit waiting room?
Are you able to treat the whole family? (I like that many NDs have a practice that treats the whole family. As a future breastfeeding mom, I love the idea of knowing that if I need to visit a doctor, I’m visiting the same one my child is seeing so if I need to take any medicine or herbs, the doctor is more aware of how it could impact my child through breastmilk.)
What are your views on extended breastfeeding? Circumcision? Co-Sleeping? Antibiotics? Vaccines? Vegan (with high raw) diet? Attachment parenting? It is important that he/she not only supports our lifestyle but also has knowledge about it. We want to have someone we can go to with questions about the aforementioned topics because, after all, my husband and I are not doctors and we’ll need guidance in these areas as well as support.
Last, but not least, it’s important to make sure you have a good feeling about the doctor during the interview. What does your gut say? Do you feel comfortable with the doctor? Take the time to discuss the experience with your spouse/partner after the interview and don’t make a decision immediately. Interview more than one preferably and compare your notes, thoughts, feelings, and overall experience.