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Tips on how to find a partnering pediatrician

September 03, 2004

Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, a New York pediatrician, teamed with the Web site iVillage.com to suggest tips for parents looking for doctors who will be a "partner" for their families:

· Don't wait, start looking early. It's wise to begin looking for a pediatrician during the second trimester of pregnancy, allowing enough time to interview several candidates.

· Get recommendations. The best way to find a pediatrician is to ask your friends, relatives and neighbors. If you are new to your neighborhood, it's a good idea to ask the local hospital, your obstetrician-gynecologist or your insurance company.

· Don't settle. In many ways, your pediatrician will become one of your most important health care advocates. Choose the one that best matches your child care philosophies, complements your personality and offers practical advice.

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· Determine what your preferences are. Would you rather work with a solo or group practice? A new practice or an established one? What's the physician's hospital affiliation? Is the pediatrician a member of your insurance plan? How far is the office from your home or workplace?

· Interview. Ask questions about a doctor's philosophy on child rearing, views on breast-feeding, circumcision, sleep habits, antibiotics and prescription drugs, and immunizations. Then ask yourself, can you live with the doctor's answers?

· Learn about the doctor's office and staff. Ask about hours, scheduling, who returns phone calls.

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