Choosing Your Pediatrician
There are so many things for new parents to do as they wait for the arrival of their new baby. Notifying every one of the happy news, attending doctor appointments, taking prenatal classes, gathering all of the necessary items for your home and the nursery, making preparations for care of your pets while you are at the hospital- the list is long and both exciting and overwhelming! Choosing a pediatrician is one of the most important tasks on that list.
When should you think about choosing a pediatrician? Parents should be thinking about who they want to be their baby’s pediatrician at least during the third trimester so that you will have plenty of time to explore options.
How should I get started? Talking to your obstetrician can be a great start. You can also talk with family and friends and find out who they use and why they like that doctor. The web can also be a resource particularly in identifying doctors in your insurance network. Think about the location that may work best for you and the practice hours particularly evening and weekend availability.
What next? Once you have identified some names in the area you may want to set up an interview with 1 or more of the names on your list. Here are some things to consider:
What hospital are they affiliated with?
How long have they been practicing?
Is this a large group practice or a solo practitioner?
Who in the office will be involved in your baby’s care?
What are their office hours and do they have extended hours on evenings and weekends for sick visits?
Does the office have separate waiting areas for sick and healthy children?
Can I call in/email with non- urgent questions?
What is the provider’s philosophy about things like breastfeeding, circumcision, immunizations, antibiotics, alternative medicine?
Does the office offer any lactation support?
Don’t be afraid to just engage the doctor in conversation to see if you feel comfortable talking with him/her and asking questions- as a new parent you may have a few!
Once you have chosen a pediatrician that you feel comfortable with, make sure that you get the address and phone number to bring with you to the hospital for delivery. Even if your pediatrician does not come to BIDMC we need to know who to send any follow up documentation to. Remember that all the preparation you are doing is getting you closer to meeting your new baby. Choosing the Pediatrician is one of the fun stops on that journey!
Deborah Harvey, RN ante/postpartum, Coordinator of Childbirth Education