Help Choosing a Pediatrician

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You will need to choose a doctor to take care of your baby. For help finding a doctor, talk with co-workers, family, friends and your own OB doctor about recommendations. Also, check with your insurance coverage to see what newborn services your plan will cover and ask if there is a list of participating pediatricians. The best time to choose a doctor is before the baby is born. This includes making an appointment to see or talk to the doctor while you are still pregnant and asking questions about baby care. When making that appointment, ask the office staff if the doctor is still accepting new newborn patients for the month that you are due. Also ask if the doctor accepts patients covered by your insurance. Find out about both sick and well-baby visits.

Some Questions You May Want to Ask the Pediatrician

Practice Questions:

  • Do you have partners? Do you have physician assistants or nurse practitioners?
  • Who will I see on well-baby visits? Who will I see when the baby is sick?
  • Will I see the same doctor each visit (if more than one doctor in the practice)?
  • Will I talk to a doctor or nurse when I call the office with a problem?
  • What kind of back-up is available for questions/concerns during non-office hours?
  • How long will it usually take to get an appointment for a well-baby visit?
  • How long will it usually take to get an appointment when my baby is sick?
  • How often is baby seen for well-baby check-ups?
  • May I have printed materials about your office and recommended infant care?
  • Do you make newborn hospital visits? If not, who will do my baby’s newborn exam?
  • Do you do the newborn exam in the nursery or in my postpartum room?
  • How do you separate sick children from healthy newborns in your waiting room?

Baby Care Questions:

  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding? Of bottle feeding? What is your preference?
  • When do you suggest introducing solid foods?
  • What are your views on circumcision?
  • If formula feeding: Do you have recommendations on a formula to use?
  • What do you recommend for bathing and skin care for newborns?

If you plan to breastfeed, you may want to ask some additional questions:

  • How soon after we go home after birth is my baby seen in the office?
  • What is your opinion about supplemental formula feeding?
  • Can I breastfeed while taking antibiotics?
  • If my baby gets jaundice, can I breastfeed?

Some questions to answer for yourself after your prenatal visit:

  • Was the office near home? Was it convenient to reach?
  • Were the office hours convenient?
  • Did the doctor listen to me? Were my questions answered?
  • Did I feel rushed during the interview?
  • Did I agree with the doctor on important things about baby care?
  • Was the waiting room comfortable? Child-friendly? Crowded?