Picking a Pediatrician Before Baby Arrives

picking a pediatricianI just had an incident with my kids' pediatrician, the one we picked before they were born. Turns out some vaccinations weren't stored at the correct temperature in their offices during a period of a few months last year, and a number of parents will have to bring their kids back in to be vaccinated again. Yikes. But despite the incident, I like my pediatrician and I'm not switching.

We interviewed the doctor and picked the practice before the birth of our children, and you should think about doing the same if you can. Karebearhugs posted on this topic in the Pregnancy group, saying she'd heard of moms-to-be interviewing peds before birth, but didn't know any who actually had.

Here's why you should start shopping around now.


Picking a Pediatrician Before Baby Arrives

Your new baby will be seen by a pediatrician in the hospital, and will need to be seen again a couple of days after birth, too, so you should line up someone before you deliver.

Is it important to you that the same doctor see your baby from day one?

If you don't give it some thought beforehand, you'll wind up with the pediatrician who's on duty when you deliver for that first check-up. But if you've got a doctor lined up in advance, he may be able to see your baby in the hospital, too. Check to see if he has visiting privileges where you'll be delivering.

Otherwise, you can see the attending pediatrician when you give birth and then switch to your regular doc for the first post-hospital baby visit.

Either way, you need to know who you're going to be taking your baby to. Talk to other new moms in your neighborhood to get some names of local pediatricians, and schedule an appointment for an interview (ask when you call if the doctor charges for his time.)

Some things to discuss when you sit down with him:

-- Practice philosophy with respect to feedings, vaccinations, sleep, etc.

-- Insurance accepted

-- Office and on call hours -- how easy is it to reach/get in to see them, during the week and on weekends?

-- Newborn care -- for visits in those first couple of months, do they make any special effort to get new babies in more quickly? Is there less office waiting time, or a separate place (away from older, sick or snuffly kids) where you can feed your baby while you wait?

For more on good questions to ask and info on what's important when choosing a pediatrician, see Cafe Suzanne's post Do You Like Your Pediatrician?.

And if you're already seeing a pediatrician with kid #1, but aren't really loving him, check out How to Break Up with Your Pediatrician. Maybe it's time to switch.

How far along are you? Are you lining up any appointments to interview potential baby doctors?

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