38 answers

Pediatrician or Family Doctor?

I am a first time mom due in July and my husband and I are trying to figure out whether to use a family doctor or pediatrician. Any advice? What are the pros and cons? Thanks!

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Dear A.,

please see a pediatrician i think you would be more comfortable....
i was seeing my family doctor when my daughter was born and i knew something was wrong with lher and my doctoer told me there wasn't so i went to a pediatrician and he ended up giving her 3 months of therapy because she had tortacolis which was when a baby can only look one way and this was my first child to and i was very nervous and scared.... C. ps. any questions email me at ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., Pediatricians are great but if you have a family Dr. that you know and trust then go with him/her. Best wishes,
Grandma Mary

1 mom found this helpful

Use a pediatrician because he specializes in the area of infants and children. His knowledge will be a little broader.

1 mom found this helpful

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Use a pediatrician because he specializes in the area of infants and children. His knowledge will be a little broader.

1 mom found this helpful

PEDIATRICIAN!!! its hard enough with a new baby since in practices, pediatricians actually see way more children than little babies on a daily basis, but a family doctor is even less. its no different than any other doctor-a family doctor knows how to deliver a baby but wouldnt you choose to have an ob/gynb do it. you want someone who knows all about baby and kid topics, not someone that has to divide thier knowledge among all ages.
pediatricians are trained to be looking for certain developmental milestones at each visit. lack of certain things could be signs of problems, even things like autism. you want someone who is fully knowledgable of these things. on a side note, i would also recommend not going to a much older doctor. i have heard many say their "old school" doctor says (blank). now im not saying they arent good doctors, but from the (blanks) like feeding solids at very young ages at 2 months, or feed the baby cereal in the bottle to make them sleep at 3 months, or not paying attention to milestones and missing an obvious case of autism, making it sound healthier to feed a baby formula... these were 3 different old doctors, and it seems i often hear these older doctors saying things that all the studies show to be incorrect, or completely disregarding studies as they are too set in thier ways. many are out of touch with the newest information out there. younger doctors have continuing education requirements, and are usually more open to the new data out there.
also, keep in mind the entire staff and office itself will be more kid friendly going to a pediatrician, they will have more patience.
and dont worry, when your child gets older, if he decides he doesnt want to go to the pedi anymore, then you can have him go somewhere else then.
if you dont have anyone in mind, pick a few close to your home, and who have priviledges at the hospital you would chose your son to go to if he was ill. then schedule a meeting to ask any questions and get an overall feel. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

A.-

Congratulations! Being a mom is the most wonderful experience in the entire world, so get ready (-: I highly recommend a pediatrician. Firstly, they respond to calls and questions 24/7 and they do it quickly. Also, they are familiar with what is going on with other kids (viruses, flus, etc). Secondly, there are many immunizations during the early years and a family doctor may need to order them special for you. Lastly, a good pediatrician will be calm and willing to listen to any and all questions (you are likely to have many with a first baby). While some family doctors are like that, I find pediatricians to be the most patient. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A.,
CONGRATS!! Motherhood is such an awesome thing!! I would definately go with the pediatrician. I feel they have much more knowledge with kids...My cousin actually uses her family doctor for her 3 year old and just recently had such a hard time with them diagnosing her daughter's tonsillitis...poor kid had a fever of 105.9 for 10 days and because her strep test came back negative the doc wouldnt give her an antibiotic...her tonsils were so swollen they were touching...and still no antibiotic....until she insisted and even then he was aprehensive....I strongly feel the pedi is the way to go....much more kid friendly too!!
Meg :)

1 mom found this helpful

Dear A.,

please see a pediatrician i think you would be more comfortable....
i was seeing my family doctor when my daughter was born and i knew something was wrong with lher and my doctoer told me there wasn't so i went to a pediatrician and he ended up giving her 3 months of therapy because she had tortacolis which was when a baby can only look one way and this was my first child to and i was very nervous and scared.... C. ps. any questions email me at ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., Pediatricians are great but if you have a family Dr. that you know and trust then go with him/her. Best wishes,
Grandma Mary

1 mom found this helpful

When my first daughter was born I used a pediatrician who then sold her practice to medical group that was a family practice. I used the family practice for about 9 yrs until I went back to work and got new insurance. At that point I put the kids with a pediatrician and man what a difference in care.

I think the biggest difference is that you get an appointment the same day for a sick kid. You may have to wait an hour but they see you asap. Family practice it was always a day or two unless they thought it was urgent and while I understand that a 4 yr old with an ear infection wasn't urgent to them it certainly was to me.

Also there is coverage night and day with a pediatrician. Several times my kids were sick on the weekend and the family practice just wasn't there on weekends.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
I am a mom of 3 girls and i have always went to a family doctor.. the doctor we go to was my doctor as a kid and i used to work for him. I like it alot... there has been a couple occasions where he wasnt sure but he sent me to the pediatrician down the road. personally i didnt like them... i think it may be just your own preference but i have not had a problem with going to a family doctor. one real good reason why i like the family doctor is he is the doctor for my whole family and he knows all of our history which i think is an advantage because chances are a pediatrician wouldnt know all of that unless they all went to them as a kid.. once you reach a certain age you would have to change doctors because pediatricians only take kids to 18 or something. If you go to a family doctor you would never have to change if you didnt want to. so that is my thought. hope this helps. good luck with your new baby.

1 mom found this helpful

When I had my first daughter, I too considered just using our family doctor, but eventually decided on a pediatrician. Either doc should give you good care, but there were a few deciding factors for us.

Fam. doctor offices are usually very busy because the doc sees a wide range of patients whereas it might be easier to get appointments with the ped. Also, since the ped is focused solely on children, the ped should be up to date on the latest medical news/practices concerning infants/children (even though all docs should have this knowledge).

I love my ped and she never rushes us in and out of the office. She always takes the time to answer my questions and play with my 2 daughters. My daughters aren't afraid to see the doc because she makes sure its a more pleasant experience that just being prodded and poked or stuck with needles for vaccinations. I can pass on the name & number of our ped if you are interested.

Also, at the hospital you have to state who is the baby's doctor. You can use a hospital's physician, but its nice to know your doctor beforehand, especially since you'll be making appointments for the weekly/monthly check-ups.

I hope this helps!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Pediatrician. When you give birth, there will be an attending pediatrician in the hospital nursery. Ask to meet him, interact with him and if you like him ask where his office is and continue to see him. I still see my daughter's birth pediatrician and she is 11. She will continue to see her until she is 18 and then her pediatrician will recommend her on to a regular M.D.

1 mom found this helpful

My.advice is pediatrician ;
and wishing you good lock
warm moments.....

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Amiee,

I'm sure you'll find excellent recommendations under both specialties, however, the big difference is in their training. A pediatrician will have more hours and experience with infant/child development/illness, etc... They will be more current on the latest trends/research/ information relating specifically to infants and children. Also, since they are seeing only children, and so many each day, a pediatrician will see your child with a broader scope. My vote is for the pediatrician, at least through the early years.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

All doctors specialize these days.

Your doctor's specialization in family medicine gave him a broad range of training, but no in-depth training in pediatrics, or any other specialty.

A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of infants and adolescents. His/her focus is there, and knows the subject in depth.
.

I have always used a pediatrician, and when necessary, pediatric specialists for my kids, and internists for myself, with specialists as I need them.

My experience with a family medicine specialist was not satisfactory, so my advice is use the best available for you baby, and that choice starts with finding a pediatrician.

You can interview them while you sre pregnant... I did that, and found one whose personality made me comfortable, and whose training and recommendations were great.

1 mom found this helpful

I completely recommend a pediatrician. You should find one now, meet him and let him know when you're due and where you're having your baby. Then when you go to the hospital and tell them your pediatrician's name, they will call him as soon as the baby is born. He will come to the hospital, examine the baby, and sign the release for the baby to go home. In my opinion (I have 10 month old twin boys), a pediatrician is more "up" on baby/children medicine. A pediatrician can be called at all hours of the day and night, no matter what, he will call you back, he will call the next day to check on the baby. But more importantly a pediatrician is a "baby specialist" and I only want the best for my babies and I'm sure you do too. good luck and congrats on your new baby.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I use a pediatrican and wouldnt change that for anything.They specialize in children,I know some people that use family doctors and the office is not always equipped with the things a child needs. When I call to get my children seen if they are sick we always get in that day with the family drs if no appoinments are available you have to wait. I recommend that you go and interview the drs you are considering and then make the best decision that will suit your family. I also wanted to tell you that my pediatrician is open 7 days a week the weekends are for sick calls and they answer there calls 24 hrs a day they are never covered by other groups so i know if i call in the middle of the night with a sick child i will get to talk to one of my drs. With 3 kids I have had to call in the middle of the night.
Sherri

1 mom found this helpful

I would get a pediatrician. If your child, god forbid, should need surgery or specialized care it is better to have a doctor who is trained to care/operate for/on children and caring for your child, unless you have a GOOD family doctor that has lots of experience with small children and who will be sure you can get care from a pediatric surgeon if your child needs his appendix out, etc. It never hurts to plan for the unexpected. I didn't have a pediatrician growing up, and my 7 year old daughter goes to my family doctor, but my 21 month old son goes to a pediatrician. As part of my divorce, I insisted on it for him for those aforementioned reasons (ex carries the health insurance). Also, from my experience, pediatricians offices have longer hours and weekend hours while doctor's offices in general do not. I've already had to take my daughter to urgent care and pay 5X the copay because our family doctor could not see her at 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon for extreme ear pain. No pediatricians office will turn you away under those circumstances.

1 mom found this helpful

I support choosing a pediatrician because of specializing in babies/children. As a result, a pediatrician has seen more relative to children than a family doctor. Everthing from reactions to a cold and a strange rash can behave very different in children and a pediatrician is much more likely to catch something since it's all they do!

PS: Watch the number of vaccines any doctor wants to give at once to your baby. Find out which are truly necessary and always ask how many at once he is receiving.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

Congrats on the new baby! Go with the pediatrician. Their speciality are children and will be on top of all the latest health updates where a family doctor has to have a broader scope of knowledge. Once your son is older you can switch him to the family doctor everyone goes to.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't know where you live but we use Seashore Pediatrics Wall NJ (rt138) - We have been using them for years and I would never change who I am using - I hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

We decided to go with a pediatrician because we wanted someone who knew about children inside and out. We wanted someone who was constantly up and knowledgeable on children, vaccines, illnesses, etc. In this case we wanted someone who specializes in children I guess you could say because we felt like we'd get the best care then.

Our children are 7 1/2 years, 4 1/2 years, and almost 9 months. I can't imagine taking them to a different doctor.

L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, A.!

Congrats on the baby! I had my first a year ago March 1st and thought I'd chime in on this subject.

We decided to take Duncan to our doctor who has a family practice. We love him, he is a great doctor, and it is nice that he sees all of us getting a whole picture view of our family's health. He is thoughtful and encouraging to us as new parents. He never makes us feel that our questions are crazy and his demeanor and interactions with us leave us feeling confident and competent as parents. He is positive and encouraging. That being said, the downfall of having not chosen a pediatrician? From my sister-in-law I always hear of all the info on child development and guidance she gets from her doctor. Although I was a teacher for 12 years, my area is children 3-12 and children with special needs - babies are a bit of a mystery to me. Thus, I would appreciate some info and guidance. I hear a friend's baby Duncan's age is using a sippy cup and I think, when should I have introduced that?! Or he's been drinking cow's milk? How much is he getting each day? Or he's eating everything in site? Duncan is still mostly eating stage 3 foods with a few chicken fingers thrown in there. I am, however, learning to ask better questions and the doc is attentive and happy to answer as many as I can fire at him.

So....if you have a lot of hens (older female friends or relatives that have had children - I can't wait to be a hen, myself!) to help with these kind of things, a family doc may be for you. If not, I'd suggest a pediatrician. They can really help you navigate your way through your baby's development.

Good luck and, again, congrats!
S.

1 mom found this helpful

I would highly recommend using a ped., I have used both with my 5 kids and when they were new born it was much better using a ped. because they are specialized in infants and young children. You can also look for a family doctor that does have the ped. background.

This is my only opinion but I found having a ped. for my children when they were infants was much better than a family doctor and we loved our family doctor atthe time.

Hope this helps and best of luck to you and your husband. I have 2 with b-days in July, one will be 10 and the other will be 6. Enjoy it whilethey are little because it goes by sooooo fast, it seems like only yesterday I was bringing my almost 10 year old home from the hospital :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A. D,
I would go with a pediatrician because they specialize in children and I think they would know more about how to treat your child. They can usually stay with that doctor into their teens, then they should recomend a family doctor or they can go to the one you may already have.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel pretty well versed on this topic... I have just had my third baby (born in November) and we happen to move quite often (my husband in the military). We are scheduled to move and I thought to make things simple I would go ahead and have her seen by our family doctor.

My other two had always previously been followed by pediatrician's but after we moved here I felt they were old enough and they were very typically developing that I wanted life to be simple; thus, we all went to the same doctor.

I really like the doctor for us. But I felt that he did not do a very thorough exam AT ALL for my daughter at her one month appointment nor did he ask very many of the questions I should have been asked at that appointment. I promptly changed her to a pediatrician (the one who had seen her in the hospital...family doctors usually aren't able to do rounds at a hospital) and had another one month visit a few days later. The visit was much more thorough and worth my time to have the second appointment.

Another thing to consider, if you are having your son circumsised, the pediatrician at the hospital will do it and you may or may be able to be followed by the same person. Various pediatrician's have round priveleges at each hospital.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

I am 32 too. I highly suggest a Pediatrician. They specialize in child caring and are on top of the latest trends of babies and children.

1 mom found this helpful

I am very happy with our family doc who is knowledgable, thorough and kind. I think it depends on your personality and how you approach healthcare in general. I chose to be with a midwife instead on an OB because I was having a normal healthy pregnancy. In my mind OBs are for when complications arise. My daughter is normal and healthy thus far and doesn't need the special expertise of a ped. Why not comprise a list of several good family docs and peds, wait till your son is born and then shop around?

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.
I am 58, and my youngest (twin girls) are graduating from High School this year.
My thoughts from years of doctoring is to ask the family doctor. The family doctor should be straight with you. I have had the MD say get a ped, and I have had MD say they were willing. Over the years I have learned to just talk to them honestly that you don't know what to do, then they can give you their honest advice.
Our first grandson is due in August.
God bless you and the new baby too.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A., Congrats on your baby. By far a pediatrician is the best bet. They are specially trained to deal with infants and any issues they may have. You can always use your family doc later when your son is older. But for infancy and toddlerhood a pediatrician would be the most informed. Best wishes...

1 mom found this helpful

For a newborn, a pediatrician makes a bit more sense. Of course we all expect our babies to be perfectly healthy, but sometimes they're not, and a pediatrician has so much more experience decoding symptoms that a baby can only describe by crying.

My daughter's first doctor was our family doctor, who was absolutely WONDERFUL, but there were times when we were in the waiting room for nearly 2 hours. That's ridiculous! The reason we switched to a pediatrician was because we needed an appointment to adjust her reflux medication dosage, and the receptionist insisted the soonest appointment was 1 month away. That's crazy for a 2-month-old baby, but family practices are not set up the same as pediatrician's offices.

We then went through 3 more pediatricians (hated 1, 2 more because we moved). My favorite was with a group practice that had separate well-child, sick-child, and teen waiting rooms. I liked it because if my daughter was REALLY sick, there was always another doctor to help us (that never happened, but it could have). Plus, the doctor was very much in agreement with my feeding/eating/sleeping philosophy, which is also very important!

When my daughter turned 2, we transferred her to our family doctor. By then, we knew she was healthy and growing normally, and we were beyond the endless infancy questions every new parent has. But if we still lived near the awesome group practice that I loved, we'd still be going there.

Good luck finding a doctor you like!

1 mom found this helpful

My recommendation is a pediatrician.
Treatment of a child is a lot different from adults. There are researches occuring in that field and too many changes with vaccines which the family doctors do not necessarily keep up with. Another recommendation would be to interview and find out which medical practice has multiple doctors and their availability. With my first child, I visited the doctors twice a week due to the problems he had, with the second one, hardly ever. My pediatric practice offers the following:

Open regular hours
Open evenings for medical emergencies (not life threatning but just things that you do not want to go through the night with)
Open first half every weekend.
Available over the phone off hours 365 days

1 mom found this helpful

I say go with a pediatrician...they're the experts in children and all that goes with them...I know several people who used regular physicians and all but one has switched to a ped.

1 mom found this helpful

Some "family doctors" see pediatric patients some don't. If you have a liked and trusted doctor ask what there policy on pediatric patients is. Also know that pediatric doctors usually have more training in child ailments and "specialize" in those problems. For example, my daughter had "Kawasaki Disease" and a very wonderful Pediatrician diagnost it. It is a 1 in a million disease and he had worked in the peds unit at a large hospital and knew what he was looking at. Left untreated it could have resulted in heart problems, arthritis, anerisms or death for my daughter. She was treated and has NO long term effects except for a great story for her to tell her friends! A regular doctor may have not caught it so quick because it is mostly a child disease and very rare at that! I say pediatrician! but your doctor might be wonderful. A.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
congratulations! I have no question that I favor a pediatrician for infants and children. My own kids had a family Dr and they saw military docs and they did fine. However, I am a pediatric nurse and know that Pediatricians are more fine tuned to specific difficulties that arise. An example is a person I met who was taking her child to a family practice dr. and had her child had poor weight gain and chronic upper respiratory infections and constipation. My first comment after that description was has she been tested for Cystic Fibrosis. The mom was shocked. She said the FP doc kept saying I don't know what's wrong and after 9 years and the child was only 40 something pounds they finally went to a specialist in a larger city. And yes that is what they found in the child. cystic fibrosis. Pediatricians just know these things and so much more about childhood diseases and skin issues and feeding needs as well.
So best wishes with whoever you may choose. I don't know where you live but I may be able to recommend a good Dr. for you.
M.

1 mom found this helpful

Without a doubt, use a pediatrician. I've found that our pediatrician is always much more flexible with appointments and knows more about childhood illness, etc. My son was diagnosed with a rare disease called Kawasaki Disease. It's got to be caught early and treated or it could be fatal. Our pediatrician recognized it right away and I know he saved my son's life. A pediatrician specializes in children, and that's what you want!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
My name is K. and I have two boys of my own.
One is 3 1/2 yrs old and 2 months. I send my
children to a pediatrician just because of the
high recommendations they received. My doctors
office is great because they are open on the
weekends and have two offices which are both
convient locations. Of course it's personal
preference. If you love your family MD then
send him there if you feel comfortable and feel
the MD would know about baby/infant illness.
Sometimes they are not aware of the illness that
babies/infants contract or know them on an adult
scale. I hope I helped you out.
A little bit about me: I'm 33 yr old, work in a
Physical Therapy clinic as an Licensed Athletic
trainer & Massage Therapist for over 10 yrs.
Have two boys and I'm married.

Good Luck to you,
K. L.

1 mom found this helpful

HI CONGRADULATIONS!! A pediatrician doctor I fell will suit the baby needs at this time. Ask family or friend if they know any that they could recommend . good luck

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.-
I am a first time mom of a 6 mo old and I would without a doubt say a pediatrician. I worked for family practice MDs and we would refer all new patients under 6 to a pediatrician. There is nothing wrong with a family practice MD-pediatricians have done more targeting rounds in thier field. If given an option, I would always choose a specialtist over internal medicine. I use Madison Pediatrics~I feel comfortable with them. You can also start interviewing MDs. Good luck....M.

1 mom found this helpful

Im a mother of 2 of a girl and boy. The pediatrician I use is Brighton HIll Pediatrics in Syracuse. I LOVE THEM~~~ There are 2 doctors that I just think are the BEST in the world!! For my girl I use Dr. Helems (woman) and for my son I see Dr. Souter (man) AWESOME!!!
###-###-#### is there contact info

CONGRATS on your new baby boy!!!

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