WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Your doctor is the person you trust more than anyone to put your family's health needs first. That's why when choosing a pediatrician there are some specific ways you should go about it.
Experts recommend you start searching for a pediatrician in your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.
You'll likely see the pediatrician for the first time shortly after labor and shortly after at your newborn's one-week checkup.
Word of mouth tends to be an excellent way to find a pediatrician, whether that word comes from your OBGYN or from another parent.
Many offices offer an opportunity for parents to meet a prospective pediatrician at a prenatal visit. It's a way to see if what you heard about that doctor holds true.
Dr. Lisa Madagame, a pediatrican at Aspirus Wausau Hospital says, "We talk with them, get to know them a little bit, we call it a get-to-know visit. At most offices it's free of charge so that you can even visit more than one clinic and make the decision based on the things you've heard--if this office and this physician is a fit with you."
If you have older kids and for some reason are switching doctors these visits apply to you too.
Meeting the pediatrician ahead of time helps verify any recommendations.
It also gets you comfortable with a doctor that will likely be in your life for a long time.
Dr. Madagame says, "If many people like their bedside manner and agree with their practice styles that's one big thing, because you have to be comfortable with the person you're going to have a relationship with for basically 18 years."
Considering office location, hours of operation, on-call schedules, and whether the doctor is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics are also components you should weigh.
And even if there's some footwork involved in making the decision, taking baby steps will ensure you make the right choice for you, and your child.
There are pediatricians who concentrate on certain areas of care.