Having a baby is already scary enough. There are so many new things that need to be taken care of and you are swamped with decisions to be made. One decision is to select the best pediatrician for your newborn. Take the time to research a couple of pediatricians to make sure that you are comfortable with your choice. Call the practice and make an appointment to get to know the pediatrician before you decide. The pediatricians offer special consultation time for new parents. Some charge money for these sessions — others do not.
When visiting the pediatrician you should be prepared with questions to ask. When we went to visit our pediatric candidates we asked the following questions. You probably should go through these questions and customize them for your own needs.
How did you decide on pediatrics?
How long will we be sitting in your waiting room on average?
Do you have separate waiting rooms (sick/well visits)?
How long are you in practice?
Do you have a list of health insurance plans that you accept?
Do you have privileges at Littleton Hospital?
How soon after the baby is born will you be available for a visit?
How does that work if the baby is hospitalized in an emergency?
What is the waiting time for return calls when having medical questions? During off-hours?
Who covers for you when you are on vacation?
How long in advance do have appointments to be made?
Office hours (working parents)?
How do you handle out-of-hours coverage?
How experienced is your staff? Do you employ any specialized nurses?
What are the doctor’s views on breastfeeding and circumcision? Do they match your views?
What is the doctor’s view on the treatment of sick kids? Does she/he take an aggressive approach or does she/he “let nature take its course” before actively treating the child?
How much time do they schedule for a well-baby checkup? (should be at least half an hour to allow time to answer your questions)
Don’t be afraid to say “No” to a doctor if you feel uncomfortable with your newborn. You can also switch doctors once the baby is born and you are not satisfied after the first 2 or 3 visits. Make sure you keep asking questions if you do not understand what the doctor does. Going to the doctor is now a one-way street. You and your insurance are paying for his time and you deserve to be able to ask questions and to expect the best possible treatment.
Also, — check out the staff of the doctor’s office. Are they making a friendly impression? Arrive 10-15 minutes early for your consultation and watch how the staff is handling the office matters during that time. A well-rounded impression of the office, the staff, and the doctor will help you make the best decision.