I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, but my little princess with horns keeps me so busy. She’s sleeping on me right now, recovering from a snotty cold she picked up from nursery. It’s this very cold that’s prompted me to get this post out of my head and onto my blog, so here goes…
When I was expecting, I was so captivated by how my baby was growing, excited (and scared) about the birth, that every waking minute of my life revolved around this part of me becoming a mum. I’d wonder about the day she came into the world, I was curious to know what she was going to look like, I prayed for her health, I’d think about what kind of mum I would be and if I’d be able to cope with the responsibility of ‘owning an actual baby’ – I didn’t really let my mind wonder onto much else.
Anyone that knows me, knows how obsessed I am with spreadsheets and organising things. I had planned out everything that I needed to buy and given myself deadlines. I’d sorted out the clothes, they were all washed in non bio powder and baby comfort, ironed and folded ready for my mini me to wear. The bath station was prepared, I became obsessed with baby toiletries. Tara was due end of May, I worried endlessly about the heat!! How would the she cope? Was it ok to leave the air-conditioning on all night? What if it got too cold? Google became (and still is) my very best friend!!
Then there was the labour, the prenatal classes, does it really hurt that bad? Discovering that there are three main stages of labour – say what?? What were all the things I could do to have the best possible natural birth (it turned out I had to have a c-section in the end). The birth plan became my second best friend and of course everything needed to go by my plan, because it just had to!! That’s a whole different post in it’s own right.
I was so wrapped up in the above, I hadn’t thought about who checks my baby’s health when she’d arrive into the world. To be quite honest, I didn’t know I had to do this, call me stupid but it’s the truth. Soon as we were discharged from hospital, it was at this point I realised I needed a paediatrician and I panicked. I didn’t know who I should pick and how do I get to this decision. A number of things help me decide in the end.
If you’ve just had a baby or expecting you may be thinking of this very subject. I’ve put a list of what I feel are useful things to consider when picking a paediatrician with some pointers:
Go by recommendation: Ask friends and family, across your social and family circles, you’ll have people with a like minded thought process. Ask them, talk about what the potential paediatrician is like, how they chose them in the first place. If they trust them with their child/ren and you trust these people you are seeking advice from, it’s always a good starting point. Incase you don’t feel comfortable with their choice, remember it’s only advice, the end decision is yours.
Look them up: What is their background? Are they certified? How qualified are they? How much experience do they have? In a country like Qatar, what languages do they speak?
Location, location, location: Are they close by? Especially in the early days, you may find yourself making frequent trips to see your paediatrician, ensuring they are close by really helps, especially when you little one is feeding so frequently and every minute in between counts.
Availability: Are you able to get appointments with ease? There is no point in picking a paediatrician that you never get to see when you need or you have to wait for hours. Some paediatricians will take telephone calls and/or respond via text messages if your needing that ‘quick advice’ for reassurance or guidance. Is a service like this important to you? If so, consider this as part of your decision making process.
Waiting time: This one is a key one for Doha, find out (if you can) how long the average wait time is to see your chosen paediatrician. This applies for when you have an appointment and also for a walk in appointment. Are you seen pretty quickly when you have an appointment and on the (most certain) event you need to take a last minute appointment/walk in, are you seen in good time?
Preference to newborns: There are so many times you’ll find yourself visiting the paediatricians with your newborn – especially if it’s first time around. Making that journey and waiting around isn’t easy when they’re so young. Does your paediatrician give preference to newborns?
Back yourself up: In the event your paediatrician is booked up or away on vacation, pick a number two. If you’ve put so much thought into your number one, you may not want to settle with just anybody when they aren’t available.
Are they patient: Babies can become extremely unsettled when making a visit to the paediatrician, having strange objects in their ears, eyes, mouth and strange hands on their body, is all very daunting. All your baby will want is their mummy or daddy and all you want is for it to be over with, so you can comfort them and let them know everything is ok. Is your paediatrician patient? Do they wait for you to put your baby’s diaper back on and settle them down before they start discussing your babies health with you? Or, do they simply carry on speaking whilst you baby is still screaming and half dressed? Are they patient with your questions, if you have any? Remember you’re paying for their service, so don’t feel guilty and bottom line is you want to know you’re baby is ok and well.
Do they care: Does your paediatrician handle your baby with care? Do they try to make sure they are as settled as can be before carrying out the routine or bespoke checks. Are they gentle? Do they care how important the check ups are to you as well as your baby?
Are they doing their job: Is your paediatrician asking you how your baby has been? What are they feeding like? Are they asking about their bowel movements and frequency of wet diapers? According to their age, are they checking their physical development accordingly? Do they ask you if you have any concerns? Do they check your baby properly? Head shape, eyes, nose, mouth, gums, ears, chest and heartbeat (from front and back), belly button and bottom to ensure everything is 100% clean, motor movements (arms, shoulders, legs, hips), height, weight, measurements etc etc etc. Are they documenting the results on their system? Are they discussing the outcome of treatment with you in the event of an illness/condition? Or, are they just prescribing tablets or telling you what you need to do?
Are they understanding: Do they understand you are a first time parent and there is so much you don’t know? Or do they make you feel stupid for turning up just because your baby is ‘just crying’. (This point also links into ‘are they patient’).
Are you getting the information and guidance you need: If you are unsure about something, be it feeding, tummy time, sleep, their gas/colic, physical/mental development, are they giving you enough information? Offering different things you could try? Are they assertive but tactful in telling you what things you should maybe stop doing? Helping you to understand what is normal, what is not? Are they discussing your baby’s medical requirements with regards to vaccinations and routine check ups? Are you being informed about your baby’s benchmark of physical weight and height?
Do you feel that you made the right choice: I believe that alI of the above points, are important in their own right but encompassing them all together is this one. When you leave your appointment, are you leaving worry free and reassured about your baby? Or are you left doubting their advice, feeling annoyed and wondering why you bothered.
I hope you find these pointers useful and please note they are just that – pointers. The end decision of who you pick and why is solely down to you and the most important thing is that you are happy and comfortable with your own decision.