If you feel that your baby deserves the best medical attention, you’re not alone. Finding a good paediatric doctor (PD) whom you can trust is at the top of the to-do list of many new parents. Here are some pointers to help you in this important decision.
Ideally, you should start searching for a PD during third trimester. If you had gone to great lengths in choosing the right gynae, consider asking him/her for a PD referral. Your friends, co-workers and family may also have PDs to recommend.
Don’t have a preference? Hospitals typically assign a PD to the baby right after delivery, so that you don’t have to spend time and effort looking for one. If your home is far away from maternity hospital, however, you might still want to look for a regular PD closer to where you live.
Consider the Costs Compared to seeing a general practitioner (S$20 to S$80 per visit), consulting a PD costs slightly more (S$100 to S$200 per visit). Do take costs into your financial budget. A PD may be more familiar with child-related medical illnesses and symptoms. Many parents in Singapore also refer to the polyclinics for general check and vaccination which is given free to Singaporeans.
Know Your Child’s Condition(s) Many PDs have sub-specialities in various medical disciplines such as gastroenterology (a specialisation of the digestive system) or for different age groups, such as neonatologists for newborns. So, if your child is diagnosed with or is prone to a specific medical condition (e.g. asthma), the selected PD’s sub-speciality should match; if it doesn’t, the PD will refer you to appropriate specialist.
Observe your PD in Action
Ultimately, the PD’s interaction with your child during the first consultation will determine if you made the right choice. Even if your child’s unwell, a good PD should know how to make him or her feel at ease. At the same time, a PD who is a perfect fit should also answer any questions that you may have about your child’s health and what you can do to improve it. Once you find a PD whom you’re comfortable with, you’ll feel less stressed about raising a healthy kid.