Pediatrician vs Family Practice - Naperville,IL

Updated on October 04, 2010
A.K. asks from Chicago, IL
19 answers

Hi moms,

My husband has new insurance so we are forced to make decisions about changing doctors for our daughter. Does anyone have strong feelings one way or the other about taking kids to a ped vs a family practice. We love her current peds, but they aren't on the new plan. My dr--who I love--is a family practice dr so she could start seeing my daughter. I've researched other peds in the group and were not wowed. She's 2 1/2 so is over the nervous newborn stage, but we might have another baby. Thought on taking toddlers/preschoolers/infants to family practice vs ped.


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answers from Chicago on

I would do a pediatrician over family practice only because they specialize in children. They know what is going around and everything with children while a family practice doc may not. My girls have both gone to a pediatrician and my brother's children went to a family practice doc. The family practice doc missed things that my pediatrician did not. I would wait until they were older to switch to a family practice doc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Pediatricians are trained in how to deal with children and their illnesses. I would not take a child under elementary age to anyone else. Just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Indianapolis on

My opinion is pretty strong in favor of the pediatrician.

I spent 9 years in doctor's offices, mostly family practice, as a pharmaceutical sales representative. The majority of a FP's practice is adults, and the volume of information they need to know for things like Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, etc. is overwhelming just for adults.

It's almost impossible for them to be well-versed on pediatric medicine as well as a pediatrician. While there are a ton of great Family Practitioners out there, we believe strongly in taking our children to a Pediatrician because that's they're specialty.

I'll be travelling to the American Academy of Pediatrics national meeting next weekend in San Francisco. There are so many new guidelines, knowing which medications can be used in adults (usually anyone over 16) vs. children. I would just personally feel more comfortable with someone whose entire practice was dedicated to that.

I also selected to go to a lymphoma expert when diagnosed with cancer a few years ago instead of a general Oncologist - it just made me feel more comforted that he was more in the "know" with how to treat my cancer which is still relatively rare compared to others.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

We have always gotten the best care when under the care of a family practitioner. The doctor and staff all know what is going on with the rest of the family, which makes excellent care easier. When my son has something going on, and then my daughter is sick the next week, it is so much easier for them to know the "big picture" about what she might have or have been exposed to. When you go in for a physical (husband maybe even), the doctor understands that if your bp is up a bit, that little Billy has been sick 3 times in the last 3 months, and his allergies have been flaring up on top of it, and that he has a re-check for his asthma in a few more days.

Understanding the family dynamic can help them help you. At least that has been our experience. :)


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Goldsboro on

I started my son at the ped. I didn't like seeing a different doctor every time we went. He had jaundice as a newborn, so we were there every day for a week. Each doctor had their own opinion about it.
I switched him to my family practice doctor at 6 months old, because every time he'd get an ear infection, they'd put him on amoxicillian and he'd break out like two days later. The peds told me it wasn't a reaction to the amoxicillian.
I got fed up and took him to the family doctor, who immediately discovered my son was allergic to amoxicillian and was having increasingly severe reactions every time he would take it.
Because he now sees the same doctor everytime, the doctor is more able to see changes or problems in my son. He was also the one who suggested ear tubes, which have been a lfiesaver for us.

The only thing I don't like about the family practice is that I can't call the nurse line on weekends. If my son gets sick, I have to take him to the ER or Urgent Care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have always been a fan of a pediatrician over a family practice doctor. The pediatrician specializes in children and may have more first hand experience with less common child ailments and/or illnesses. They also have specific training and course work on dealing with young children and are taught special strategies to make going to the doctor a more positive experience. While your child(ren) is young I think the pediatrician is the best bet. I think of a family practice doc is more suited for older children/adolescents and adults. Of course this is just my opinion and I have no data to back it up. Overall, you should talk to several doctors and choose the one you are most comfortable with and the one that fits your family best. Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I started using a family practice when my oldest was 6 and youngest was 2. I actually went to them by mistake, I was told they were a pediatricians office only to find out it was a family practice. Well, everything happens for a reason and I couldn't be happier with the family practice. I've been with them for over 3 yrs now and that's longer than I ever stayed at any pedis office. IMO, the family practice doctors listen better and really try to get to the root of any health conditions vs. the pedi whom always seemed to say everything was related to an ear infection.

When my 3rd child was born, we had to use a pedi the hospital recommended for 6 mnths then we were able to switch back to the family practice. Again, I didn't care for the pedi's office and was happy to get back to my family practice doctor. I've also noticed that because it's not a a pedi's office, there's far less sick kids there and so they're not as busy as the pedi was and when my kids go in for well child check ups they don't end up catching something while were there and getting sick all over again.

I say go with the family practice and if you decide to have another baby, you'll have plenty of time to come up with a temporary pedi until new baby can go to the family practice clinic. Good luck with everything.



answers from Tulsa on

I have mixed feelings about this. If your doctor is up to date on lots of things then it may be okay. Sometimes Pediatricians are just downright goofy. I mean, some of the things I read here in the questions I wonder how their doc ever graduated.

If you are confident in your physicians abilities to treat childhood illnesses then go for it. Otherwise I say stay in the world of Pediatricians.

One thing I would say for sure, Never trust the doc on medications amounts. I always ask the Pharmacists about anything to do with meds, doc's are not professionals in medication dosing, pharmacists are, they are the experts and I trust them.



answers from Chicago on

My personal preference is for the family practice, especially since you will need to change doctors for your child anyway. That way, your child can stay with that doctor, if he/she wishes, as an adult. The family practice I use routinely sees babies and toddlers, based on who I see in the waiting room whenever I go there.



answers from Chicago on

I love our FP and we have two kids--2-year-old and 5-month-old. She came to the hospital after each baby was born. Sometimes, the better part of her day is spent seeing kids. I live in an area where there are a lot of young families and it seems like a lot of those families go to this family practice. I like having her know all of our medical histories and not having to explain things to different doctors. Besides, I can also book appointments for me and/or my husband and our kids at the same time (back-to-back). Saves a lot on unnecessary time in the waiting room.



answers from Boston on

I would not take my kids to a family practice unless they were older like 12 or so. Pediatricians specialize in children family practitioners do not.


answers from Columbus on

I grew up going to a family practitioner, my kids see a pediatrician. I feel I received good health care growing up, so that isn't the reason my kid shave a ped...I just never really thought about it, I guess! We really like our ped, so no reason to change but if for some reason we did need to switch, I think it would have more to do with the individual physician and not as much to do with their title. I don't think a ped is BETTER because they specialize in children, as I have known more than one person whose ped wouldn't even consider a diagnosis because it was an 'adult' diagnosis...guess what, that 'kid' almost died of that 'adult' disease! Lucky the parents insisted on taking their child for a second opinion-from a family practitioner!
Of course, everyone makes mistakes and no title is going to take away anybodys ability to make a mistake



answers from Fort Wayne on

Personally, I like a pediatrician better because they are specialized in treating children. Family physicians, at least in my experience, seem to work better with adults.
It really just boils down to what you are most comfortable with. You could always try out your doctor and see how it goes.


answers from San Antonio on

My son went to pediatrician at first, but then we moved and there's no pedi nearby. All are family practice. When he was sick recently, we LOVED the family practice people. My only concern will be for the next baby --- the family practice people only do 3month-olds and older. So they won't go to the hospital for all the infant stuff. We'll have to use the pediatrician for that.

So that's just one thing to think about. If I were you, I'd take her to the family doctor if you like them so much. But next kiddo you may need a pediatrician for the first few months.



answers from Hickory on

With my first child I used a ped for a little over a year. He was ok but I did not care for him so started taking my son to the family doctor. When I found out my 2nd child was coming I talked with my family doctor. He was great and agreed to come to the hospital when I had her. It was a lot better using the family doctor because he already knew the family info. We are trying for number three and will be going with the family doctor again. This way if our children choice to they can carry on with the same doctor even after the age of 21. I have found out that the family doctor also hears me a lot more than the ped did.



answers from Chicago on

To me it all depends on the individual doctor's office or practice. I have belonged to a very difficult FP and now belong to a really good one. The two doctors we see care for our entire family, including my 10 year old son. Unless your child has some sort of specific medical issues, most family practice doctors will be able to care for her just fine. I only ever saw a GP when I was a baby! Finding a doctor you like and trust and an office that is polite and respectful of your needs is more important, IMO. Besides- if your insurance won't allow you to use a pediatrician anymore, what else are you going to do??



answers from Chicago on

I started off with a family practitioner, liking the idea that we could all go to the same doctor (if my husband or I would ever need to which we generally do not). My son was born early and gave us a good scare with his jaundice. The family practitioner was pretty obviously not so familiar with having such a situation in his care as he was nervous for us as well. VERY kind and dedicated, giving us calls personally and all, but just not so experienced with it, which made me all the more nervous. I'm just afraid family practioners are spread too thin. Therefore, simply because pediatricians EXPERIENCE pediatric concerns ALL the time, I trust them more to be on top of concerns with me more, noticing red flags more efficiently just because it is their specialty, their norm of what they do. Being big on early intervention myself, I've been VERY appreciative of our pediatrician being on top of concerns with me for things like my son's feet needing orthodics and my other son's sensory integration disorder that has already come SOO far in improvement. Early detection and intervention really makes the process so much quicker and less painless for getting back on track with most any issue, so I'd go with a pediatrician if you can find one you really like just because they are more experienced with childhood "issues" so can help detect and intervene earlier with any concerns.



answers from Chicago on

It is a tough call. I went to a family practice dr as a kid-adult. I actually have him still as my Dr.. I was a pretty healthy kid overall. Had my appendix out at age 7 and some kidney stuff but nothing major. My kids go to a pediatrician. The only down side to a family practice dr. is that they may not be up on all of the Early Childhood diseases. Maybe you could ask how many children he sees in his practice. That would be a good judge of how much he might be "up" on things. If he only sees a handful of kids under the age of 12 he is probably less likely to keep up with ECD. If you daughter is pretty healthy overall, I think she would be fine with your family doc. If she is in daycare, you might want to find a pediatrician, because daycare kids get all kinds of funky diseases. lol Bottom line is, if your family doc is unsure of what he is dealing with (if she comes in with something) I'm sure he would refer you to another dr (which is then usually covered by insurance) and you will get the treatment you need. So, if you love him, I say, give him a try.



answers from Chicago on

Pediatrician over a family practice doctor anyday for me. When I first had my son, my family practice doctor (who was great with us) said she takes on babies too, so we decided to stick with her. Unfortunately, my son had reflux really bad and each and everytime I told her about him throwing up (everytime he ate), she said "oh, all babies spit up" and convinced me that it was normal. By the time he was 11, he was no longer on the weight scale and to this day, he is diagnosed with "failure to thrive" due to his weight. So, for me, I would ALWAYS suggest going to a Pediatrician anyday. They are experts in just kids. They know them in and out, they know what bug is out and they without question know how to tell if a child has reflux or is just "spitting up".

Oh, our pediatrician is Dr. Reicherts in Naperville at ###-###-#### and they are awesome.

On the other hand, If you have kids and Dr. Jean Walsh is trying to convince you that she is qualified to take care of them - RUN!
Good luck.

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