Breaking Up With Your Pediatrician

You only want the best for your baby. Before birth, you may have interviewed doctors and thought you had chosen the perfect provider. But now that you’re seeing this pediatrician regularly, you’re having second thoughts. The first step is to raise your concerns. If you feel like you’re being rushed through your appointments or if the office staff is unsupportive, a simple statement to the doctor such as, “I feel my last appointment was hurried” can open the door for discussion. Your baby’s doctor will appreciate the feedback about how their office functions.

If your problems are on a more philosophical level – your doctor is condescending about your breastfeeding issues and suggests formula again and again, for example – it can be hard to open a conversation. Be polite, and refrain from any judgmental language. Ask questions so you can fully understand the doctor’s recommendations. If you still can’t reach consensus and continue to feel maltreated, do not hesitate to look for another provider.

Changing doctors is an emotional thing – you have put your trust in this one. You’re unsure not only how to go about firing him or her, but also how you can find another doctor to rely on.

You may want to fire your baby’s doctor if:

  • He or she is behind the times on best-practice for infants and children
  • The doctor disregards your wishes or doesn’t fully answer your questions
  • He or she is rude, condescending or paternalistic
  • The office staff is disorganized or unfriendly
  • The doctor or nurse is unreachable for simple questions
  • You just don’t feel comfortable with this provider

You’ll likely want to have a new doctor lined up before you fire your old one. Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for their opinions and recommendations for doctors in your area.

Once you’ve selected someone, be sure you check whether they are enrolling new patients, and if they accept your insurance. Then meet with them so you can decide if they are right for you and your baby.

When you interview a new doctor:

  • Ask about their philosophies for vaccination and breastfeeding, if these are important to you. A great resource for questions to help find a breastfeeding friendly pediatric practice can be found through the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Ask what the policy is for phone calls and emails. Is there a nurse or other staff member in the office who can answer routine questions?
  • What are their policies regarding scheduling well-visits and sick-visits? Is there a walk-in clinic, or do you need an appointment?
  • Where did the physician(s) go to school? What professional societies do they belong to? Do they regularly keep up with conferences or continuing education opportunities?
  • Most importantly, ask yourself if you feel comfortable with this doctor after the interview.

Be sure to request your records be transferred to the new doctor you have chosen, and let the doctor know why you’re leaving his or her practice, if appropriate. Most of all, trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with your baby’s current provider, don’t be afraid to make a change.

Have you ever had to fire your doctor? What advice can you add?

Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

5 Tips for Talking to Your Pediatrician

Whether you visit the pediatrician’s office for a routine appointment or because of a specific health concern, you’ll want to get the most out of your visit. You may not see your child’s pediatrician very often, so make sure you use your appointment wisely. Here are five top tips to help you get the most out of your visit to the pediatrician’s office:

  1. Be prepared

You simply won’t get as much out of the appointment if you’re not prepared. You probably have all kinds of questions you want to ask, but you’re likely to forget during the appointment unless you take written notes. It may sound a bit over the top, but your pediatrician will be relieved to see you taking the appointment seriously. List all of your concerns and start with the most pressing question. Remember, doctor’s appointments are only short so you may not get through everything on your list. If you don’t take a list of questions, you’re likely to forget on the day and end up feeling frustrated later.

  1. Give background

A big part of your pediatrician’s job is listening. She needs to listen to and address your concerns as well as listening to the information you give her about your child. She needs to know as much as possible. She needs to know about family health problems as well as your child’s diet and lifestyle. Don’t be afraid of overloading the pediatrician with information, she’s used to filtering through for the bits she really needs to know. Make sure you answer her questions with as detailed answers as possible and make sure you are giving her the full picture.

  1. Ask questions

Your pediatrician spent years studying at medical school, you probably didn’t, so nobody’s expecting you to know all the same things. If the pediatrician uses medical jargon you don’t understand or refers to health problems you’ve never heard of, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Your pediatrician wants you to understand exactly what she’s telling you, so double check that you’ve understood it all before leaving. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you think the pediatrician is skipping things, your pediatrician may even print off some written info for you to take home.

  1. Focus

A trip to the pediatrician’s office isn’t likely to be a particularly calming experience. If your child is poorly, you’re both likely to be short on sleep and grumpy, so it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Your pediatrician needs your full attention, however, and she can’t do her job properly without it. She needs to make sure you’re giving her all the background information and that you’re taking in what she’s telling you. If you have other children, it might be worth leaving them with a sitter or at least taking something in to distract them so you can concentrate during the appointment.

  1. Be forceful

Sometimes, moms just know something is wrong with their child, even when the doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t back it up. Remember, you know your child better than anybody and if you think something is up, it might well be. If you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, don’t be afraid to push this with your doctor. Sometimes, a mother’s worry can be just the nudge a pediatrician needs to order that extra test or investigate further.

Do you have any top tips to share for getting the most out of your pediatrician’s appointment?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.