Choosing a doctor for your child isn’t always an easy decision. Do you choose a pediatrician, or a family doctor? This post is all about my little journey to find a doctor before my first child was born 7 years ago. I don’t endorse one type of doctor, but want to share my experiences.
Before Meg was born, I did what was expected of me. I started looking for a pediatrician. I asked my friends with children who their pediatrician was (ok, just 1 friend had kids so I was limited) and decided to interview the doctor. It was a fine visit and he seemed lovely. But I didn’t connect with him. I wanted my child to see someone with whom I felt comfortable. After all, this is the care of my child and I wanted her to be in the best possible hands. So, I made a call to my family doctor to see if he would take on a new, little patient. Let me explain why.
I have had the same doctor, a family doctor, for most of my life. With the exception of when I was in college and saw the health office there, or when I lived in Massachusetts and found a doctor there, he has been my doctor. He is also my parents’s doctor, my husband’s doctor, formerly my in-laws’ doctor, and he is currently my grandmother’s doctor. For me, there is something to be said for someone who knows our family history so well. He is easy to talk to and work with. Because he knows me so well, there are times when I can call, tell the office my symptoms, and he can call something in for us so we don’t have to make the trip to see him (he’s about 20 minutes away and with 4 kids, that can take HOURS). He is often kind enough to write off some of our co-pays, especially when I bring in all 4 sick kids and have to spend an hour getting everyone examined and having a bunch of prescriptions written. He is wonderful and kind to my children. His office staff knows us all very well. He has, at times, rearranged his schedule to squeeze us in, because he knows that when I call, there must be something wrong with my kids or I wouldn’t have made the call. Having him as the provider for our children was the right choice for us.
That being said, there are some drawbacks I’d like to point out. He is a sole practitioner. He does not have an answering service, but his voicemail always contains the number of the covering physician. Sometimes those physicians do not see children under 5, and as I have 3 of them, that can be a drag. As a sole practitioner, we sometimes have to WAIT to see him. When I only had 1 or 2 children, that wasn’t so awful unless they were really sick. But, with usually 3 with me at all times, it can get hairy. I now make my appointments first thing in the morning or right after lunch to alleviate those issues as best I can. And I call in the troops if need be (my dad and my mother-in-law have both been there to help at times). When he goes away for a conference, his office closes. However, those issues are minor given that he knows everything about our family history and it helps with diagnoses~my mother had ovarian cancer (and survived!), my grandmother has Alzheimers, Megan is lactose intolerant, etc.
Choosing a doctor for your child is a personal decision. You need to find one that you trust, that you can talk to, that is willing to listen TO YOU and one that believes in the same things you believe in when it comes to the care of your children. For us, having a family doctor was the best choice for our family. I’m not saying that is the best choice for every family, but for this family of 6, it works.