I never knew kids could go to any other doctor besides a pediatrician. After moving to Idaho, I could not find a pediatrician for my little boy. My husband said while he was growing up, they only went to a family doctor for visits if they were sick.
After taking my two-year-old to a family doctor and talking to my husband about his experience. I have decided to write the pros and cons of a pediatrician versus a family doctor.
Pros of a Pediatrician
- Pediatricians are doctors for kids! What better person to take your kids to than a doctor who specializes in them? A pediatrician knows more about how your child's body works than you do. Mind blown!
- Pediatrician offices tend to be more kid-friendly. Bright colored walls, to baby-proofed rooms. In general, a pediatrician's office is just better for kids. For example, we just took our two-week-old baby to a pediatrician. The walls were covered with cute monkeys and vines.
- Pediatrician staff is geared towards children as well. Nurses, doctors, and receptionists all chose the job because they knew they would be working with small children. They have a lot of experience talking and interacting with two-year-old's.
- Nurses are a lot better at drawing blood and giving kids shots when they work with kids all of the time. Children's' bodies are a little different than adult bodies. It is a lot harder to get a blood pressure on a baby. It takes a lot of time to draw blood from a small child. Someone that works doing this every day has an easier time getting it the first time.
- Before Covid, most pediatricians had toys and books in their offices. If you have a long wait to see the doctor and your child is anxious, it helps to have distractions. We all remember the bead tracks at the doctor's office. Good times! Which color track are you going to follow with your line of beads?
- They are geared towards children a hundred percent. From cartoon Band-Aids, extra diapers, and oxygen readers that fit on a small foot. They are prepared to meet any child from newborn to 18.
Pros of a Family Doctor:
- When you turn 18, you do not have to switch doctors. I remember hating the thought of changing doctors when I turned 18. I felt like my pediatrician knew what I needed, I hated that someone else who did not know what my medical needs were was about to be my doctor.
- The whole family can go to the same doctor. Do you like close relations? A family doctor specializes in your family. They know the medical needs of the whole group.
- Family doctors are a little more specialized in adults. Some teenagers may like having a family doctor more than a pediatrician. They want to feel "grown-up".
- Kids get a lot of attention at a family doctor! I recently took my son to the family doctor. Everyone was so excited to see a baby at the office. It was as if they had never seen a tiny human before. It was funny to realize how few kids go to a family doctor.
Cons of Going to a Pediatrician:
- As a teenager, it might be embarrassing. I remember going to a pediatrician as a 13 or 14-year-old and feeling very out of place with 1 million babies in the waiting room. At that point, I would have enjoyed going to a family doctor and feeling a little more grown-up.
- Because pediatricians know so much about little kids, sometimes they can make you feel overwhelmed. One day my sister called me and told me she felt like the pediatrician was overly concerned about her baby and made her think she was a bad parent.
Cons of Going to a Family Doctor
- A family doctor does not specialize 100% in babies and young kids. My little boy was diagnosed with torticollis and plagiocephaly. The pediatrician caught it within two months of being born. Had we gone to a family doctor, I do not think they would have ever found this out until it cost us a lot more in treatment and physical therapy.
- Family doctors are general care doctors. This means they are the ones that generally take care of you but do not have a specialty. Even though pediatricians are considered the same level as family doctors. They do specialize in little ones.
- Do you want your doctor to know everything about every one of your family members? With a family doctor, they know all about you and your husband and your kids. I like to go to my kid's doctor and not deal with them knowing every detail about me.
- Family doctors do not tend to have all the supplies needed for babies. They generally do not have small baby blood pressure cuffs or other medical things.
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"Our goal is to help the world make decisions with a list of Pros and Cons. We invite all to add to our lists to help others make the most educated decision possible. We are all in this world together to help each other and learn from what others have learned from their lives journey." - Pros and Cons Team
Written by: Sarah