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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just moved from our home state of Oregon, where we had the same wonderful pediatrician since our dd was 2 days old. She was great--had gone through the lactation consultant training herself because she thought breastfeeding was so important, had LC's in her office, was mellow about our delaying some vaccines and avoiding others altogether, cosleeping, etc....

Now we live in the Salt Lake City area, and haven't yet connected with other likeminded families--and we need a pediatrician. I've never gone through this proccess before--we found our previous doctor through friends' recommendations.

What did you ask?

What red flags should we be aware of?

We don't consider ourselves to be completely crunchy, but we certainly aren't mainstream. We need our childrens' doctor to be okay with the following:
*homebirth (although we're planning on a hospital birth with a CNM with this next baby)
*extended breastfeeding, despite difficulties
*co-sleeping
*delaying some vaccines, and avoiding others altogether
*homeschooling

Help me come up with a good list of questions for potential doctors, please!
 

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I would ask:

Do they have kids?
If so, were their kids breastfed and for how long?

For me it sends up an immediate red flag if their own kids weren't breastfed or were only breastfed for a short amount of time.
 

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We use our ped only for medical topics and not for any type of parenting advice, so their opinions on sleeping, schooling, etc are irrelevant to me. The things I care about are:

-if I have a question, can I speak directly to the ped on the phone or do we do the relay thing where I talk to a nurse and the nurse talks to the doctor and then the nurse talks to me ad nausem?

-if my child is sick, can I get a same-day visit? Would I see our ped or just anyone available in the practice?

I also ask a couple of questions I know the answers to, to see what they would say. Such as "If my newborn was 2 weeks old and I felt like I wasn't making enough milk, what would your advice be?" or "My 18 month's old foreskin doesn't retract, what should I do?" If you are specific like this, rather than open-ended questions like "Do you support breastfeeding?" you will learn more.

You would probably want to ask specific questions about your vaccination choices too. Some peds around here won't take unvaxxed patients.
 

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On a similiar thread a while back, annettemarie (I think it was her) recommended the question,
"What parenting/baby books do you recommend?" Certainly some names would send up red flags!

When I was interviewing peds. my most telling responses were from asking, "When or under what circumstances would you recommend a mother stop nursing?"

thyme, I too use my ped. for only "medical topics," but she doesn't hesitate to chime in on other topics. It can be quite irritating, and in my early days as a mom, stressful and discouraging. Still, she is the one who sees us within hours of calling if one of the girls is sick, talks to us directly on the phone, etc., so we stuck with her. (Plus, my dds like her.)

Good luck with this, OP!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OP here....

FYI--Dh and I are confident in our parenting decisions, and don't generally consult with our pediatrician about things beyond medical issues. I just don't want a doctor who is going to see red flags when these issues come up...I'd hate to have to feel defensive all the time, KWIM?

These are great ideas....keep them coming!
 

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I agree with the previous posters' suggestions. My only thing to add would be to use your instincts and "feel" out the docs you interview. Can you bring your DD with you to see how the doctor interacts with children?

The practice we use doesn't do interviews but came highly recommended by several families from our church. Originally, I picked a female doc my best friend uses for her 2 daughters (and now also 1 son). But I just didn't really feel comfortable with her demeanor. She was very knowledgeable but I didn't feel I could ask her questions. And she seemed too "clinical" with my baby. (I guess it was silly to assume that a pediatrician would have good bedside manner with children?)

I ended up switching to another doctor at the same practice who I felt I could connect with and he is a lot more baby/kid friendly. He has a playful attitude with the little ones while doing his doctoring and my DD loves him.

Also, could your previous ped. in OR possibly recommend someone she might know that lives in your area?

Anyway, good luck to you while you settle in to your new area.
 

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In Protecting the Gift , Gavin de Becker recommends asking prospective pediatricians questions about sexual and physical abuse. Really direct questions, such as "Have you ever been accused/convicted of abuse?" "Have any of your colleagues ever been accused/convicted of abuse?" and "Have you ever recognized and treated signs of abuse? What signs do you look for?"

In the doctors' responses you should look for signs of denial that abuse happens (in your community, by doctors, by "nice" parents, etc). De Becker's main point is that surrounding your children with a supportive network of adults can help protect them, and that an aware and responsive doctor can be an important part of that network.

I highly recommend the book in general!
 

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Some great suggestions so far!

I would also ask what the protocol is for children who get sick after hours -- do they have someone who takes after hours calls, or do you have to go through an answering service or page the doctor? (In my experience, if you have a doctor paged after hours, you only have about a 50% chance of them calling back).
 
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