Choosing a pediatrician for your baby is one of the many important decisions that parents must make during pregnancy. You will want to make sure you are going to be seeing a doctor who has similar health care philosophies as your family rather than just choosing the most convenient office location.
My husband and I were recently making this decision and interviewing pediatricians. Some offices were “too busy” to make time to interview with us in person. We immediately crossed these off of our list as we want a doctor and staff who are willing to answer our questions and take the time to appreciate our “business”, because really we will be paying them for a service. When you do have an interview setup with a potential health care provider, be sure you write down your questions beforehand so you remember everything you want to ask.
You can begin your search by asking family and friends who live close by what their experience with their pediatrician is like. You can also call your local health network to get a listing of pediatricians covered by your insurance. From there I suggest looking at their websites and calling offices for more information and then deciding who you would like to interview with. You can also ask for referrals from your OB or midwife.
Important factors to consider when you are interviewing pediatricians:
- Do you feel open and comfortable speaking to the doctor?
- Is the office cozy and welcoming?
- What is the attitude of the other staff members?
- What hospitals do they have privileges at, in the event of hospitalization?
- Are there extended office hours some days? Weekends?
- Is the doctor easily accessible for questions? Will you receive a return phone call from a staff member the same day?
- How many practitioners are in the practice? (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants)
- Is there a lactation consultant on staff or for referral?
- Is there an answering service available at all times for emergencies?
- What is the minimum amount of check-ups in the first year and beyond?
- Ask questions on specific health areas that are important to you that may include:
- Breastfeeding Support
- Solid Foods/Baby’s First Foods
- Non-hospital birth (birthing center, home birth)
- Specific family health questions or concerns that arose during pregnancy
Ideally, this should be completed by 36 weeks of pregnancy. Your OB or midwife may have a form that you need to have signed by the pediatrician so be sure to have everything completed in time so you are not rushing and choosing someone who may not be the best fit. Your child will be seeing their pediatrician for many years so it is important that you find someone you trust and can communicate openly with.
How did you find a pediatrician for your child? Is there anything else that was important to you when considering who would be the best fit for your family?