3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Pediatrician 

As a parent, you want the best of the best for your little one(s). That’s why choosing the right pediatrician to care for your baby can seem a little daunting – there are so many options! It’s okay for you to feel anxious about wanting to choose the right one for your family. Deciding on a pediatrician is an important task, and one that you will want to make before giving birth.

If you choose to deliver with Celebrate Birth at home or in our birth center, your midwife at Celebrate Birth will complete a physical exam of your baby shortly after you give birth. This includes weighing, measuring, and (with your consent) administering vitamin K and erythromycin eye ointment. Your midwife will also perform the Newborn Metabolic Screening (PKU) test on the second day after the birth. This test will screen for developmental, genetic, and metabolic disorders. Beyond those immediate duties, your baby will be in the care of your pediatrician.  

Your baby will need to be seen within 24 hours following the birth, regardless of where you deliver.  If you are delivering out of the hospital, the midwife will forward the newborn exam and PKU results to the pediatrician you have chosen and you will be responsible for scheduling that first appointment.  If you are delivering in the hospital, the baby’s first appointment will take place there either with your pediatrician or with the pediatric hospitalist. It is important that you choose which pediatrician you would like to care for your baby well in advance of your estimated due date so you can be prepared for this first visit following the birth.

During your baby’s first year, it is likely that you will be visiting the pediatrician at least six times for well-baby checkups, as well as for any unplanned visits that might become necessary. When deciding on a pediatrician, it is important that you feel like you can trust them and the care they provide. To help you decide which pediatrician will be the best fit for your family, you will want to take into consideration these 3 tips:

1.     Do your research.

Start researching pediatricians in the area. Ask friends and family who they have used or are currently using, and make sure that the doctors you are considering have the proper credentials and that they are currently accepting new patients. When you make your decision, let their office know you would like to choose them as your new baby’s care provider. You will also want to find out if there is any paperwork that will need to be completed in advance of the birth.

2.     Make sure they are up to date with current practices.

Medicine and health care practices are always changing. As you do your research, it is good to understand the basics of how each doctor practices and what their protocols are ahead of time so you can be sure they will provide your baby with current, evidence-based care in regards to your family’s unique needs and preferences. For example, if circumcision/intact-care or vaccinations are important topics to you, find out ahead of time how each doctor handles such matters.

3.     Decide if you click and see how the doctor interacts with your newborn.

If you’re able to, we recommend scheduling a “getting-to-know-you” visit with the pediatricians you are considering. This will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor ahead of time and ask them questions about their style and philosophy of care. It can also give you an idea as to whether they will be a good fit, personality-wise. Consider bedside manner and how well they listen to your thoughts and concerns. This “getting-to-know-you” period extends to even after the baby arrives – after you have chosen your pediatrician, watch how they interact with your baby, too!

If you have any additional questions on choosing a pediatrician for your newborn, please give us a call at 863-680-2229. We are happy to help!