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Your Essential Checklist To Choosing The Right Paediatrician

Your paediatrician is about to become number one on your speed-dial. If you're a first-time parent, the task of finding a baby doctor can be quite daunting and confusing. You obviously want the best person to look after your baby. A little homework done in advance can ensure that you find a doctor that you like and whose capable of giving the best care to your little bundle of joy. Make sure you find a paediatrician before your baby arrives. At least keep the groundwork and research ready.

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The best route would be to take opinions from your friends and family - these are the people you trust. They will give you advice based on their own experience. Make sure you ask them why they are so fond of this particular doctor, though. Everyone has their own parenting styles, so maybe once you hear their answer, you may decide that this one isn't a good fit with yours.

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We have prepared a list of questions that you should keep in mind when looking for a good paediatrician and also some that you should ask yourself.

Research you must do

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How far is the clinic located from your home and how long will it take in rush hour?

You don't want to take a chance when there is an emergency. It is always helpful to have the doctor closer to home than having to travel for hours on end.

Does your childcare philosophy match with that of your doctor's? 

Yes, there is no right or wrong approach to raising a child, but it helps if your doctor is on your side. There are many schools of thought when it comes to medicine as well - the old school, natural remedies or the more modern clinical approach. Pick a doctor you are comfortable with.

What is his/her child-care philosophy?

As with medicines, you need to be on the same wavelength with your doctor when it comes to vaccinations, antibiotics, and even on when you need to start your baby on solids. Trust us, it makes your life a lot easier if you had a doctor on your side.

What are the credentials of the doctor?

Always go to a doctor who is accredited and certified to practice medicine. A paediatrician is a doctor who specialises in children's medical care. If your child has special needs, make sure you check if your doctor specialises in that field.

Ask The Doctor

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Will you be on call 24x7?

We do understand that doctors also have families and they may not be available 24x7. But you need to know that. Find out until when you can call after work hours, alternate numbers to call etc.

If you're travelling do you have someone to cover for you?

Everyone needs a holiday- even your paediatrician. However, emergencies wait for no one so you need to have a point of contact if your own doctor is unavailable. Make sure you have their numbers too.

Clarity about visit charts and immunization records

Each doctor does it differently. Find out what their procedure is.

Also find out

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Which hospitals is the doctor affiliated to?

If there is a medical emergency, you will need to rush your baby to a hospital. Going to the one your paediatrician is affiliated to simply means that you will not have to start from scratch to explain your baby's history. The doctor will already know. This way, your baby is comfortable with the doctor too.

How child-friendly is the clinic?

This is one place you will visit a lot of times with your little one, so look at it from a child's perspective. Is it bright and cheerful? Are there books and toys to keep them engaged? Visits are so much easier when your child actually wants to go to the doctor's office. Some clinics give stickers, while others give candy.

What is the staff like?

You can get a good understanding of the doctor's practice when you interact with their staff. If the staff is cheerful, patient and well spoken, it makes such a difference. When you bring your cranky baby in and you haven't slept in two days, a cheerful, caring nurse will make all the difference.

Was the baby comfortable with the doctor? How did they respond to each other?

How a doctor handles the baby says a lot about them. You probably want a more interactive, hands-on type doctor than one who is all about practicality. The baby's reaction matters too. If they seem happy with the way the doctor is handling them, then it's a point in favour of the doctor. Go with your instinct on this one, you need to have a good feeling about your paediatrician.

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