"How do I choose a Pediatrician for my newborn?"
Choosing a doctor for your baby may not be something you've given a lot of thought to during pregnancy. Many parents don't realize that this is something that should be done well before baby is born to prevent any misunderstandings in baby's care after the birth.
By allowing yourself time to interview and select a pediatrician for your baby you will be able to research your feelings of parenting. This in turn will determine how likely of a match you are with your particular candidate. This Pediatric group is going to be seeing your child quite frequently for well baby care and in cases of illness and emergency.
It's very important that you find a provider who has a style, personality and skills to match your needs.
In determining whether your philosophies are similar, ask yourself how you and your partner feel about the following issues, and then ask your potential pediatricians:
- Antibiotics: When do you feel that they should be used? What about your potential doctor?
- Breastfeeding: Is this person knowledgeable in the subject? Do they have a myriad of resources available or will they suggest weaning at the first sign of trouble?
- Parenting Style: While it's really hard to determine how you will parent before having the baby and adapting your lives accordingly, is this person someone that you would agree with on parenting issues like discipline, the family bed, feeding issues, etc.? If not you may be setting yourself up for a lot of strife.
There are many other issues which may be important to you, like office hours, phone call rules, on call schedules, vaccination issues, waiting room situations, etc. Anything that you think is important should be addressed in an interview prenatally. This interview is usually best done in person. It allows you to get a feel for how the office is run and what the staff and nurses are like. It will give you a chance to check out the location for convenience, cleanliness, and atmosphere. It's also much easier to get a feel for the practice in this "hands on" manner.
When you have your appointment, bring your birth plan with you. Show it to the potential doctor(s). Since they will be the ones in charge of your baby's care in the hospital or birth center you will need to know if they will support your ideas at the birth. Things you might address are rooming in, breastfeeding, doing newborn exams in the room instead of the nursery, what will happen if baby needs to transfer to the intensive care nursery, when will you see the doctor at the hospital, etc. If you're planning a home birth, ask when they would like to see the baby. Will they do a home visit or are you required to come in with the baby within a certain amount of time? Most pediatricians are very used to dealing with these types of questions.
While there are certainly a lot of factors that will go into your final decision (insurance, hospital affiliation, gender preference, etc.), your gut feeling about the partnership you will have with this person is often a very good indicator.
Laurel Pediatric's physicians are willing to sit down with parents for a prenatal visit to discuss questions that you may have regarding our philosophies of caring for the newborn. Please call our office to set up a prenatal visit. There is no charge for this visit. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you!