How to pick a pediatrician for your little one

May 23, 2012 12:56 PM by

If you’re pregnant with your first child, you’re probably wondering how best to go about preparing for baby. Aside from decorating the nursery and picking out potential names, you’ll need to choose a pediatrician who will likely provide your child with medical care throughout his or her childhood. It’s a bigger decision than you might think, so here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Look for candidates early. It’s a good idea to start thinking about your child’s pediatrician after your first trimester, then choose a doctor by your third trimester. Many hospitals require you to provide the name of the pediatrician when they admit you, as an examination is usually recommended within the first 24 hours of birth.

2. Ask around for trusted recommendations. If you have friends or family members who are happy with their children’s pediatricians, consider checking them out. Your obstetrician can also make referrals, or you could research doctors in your insurance network online.

3. Feel free to conduct an interview. Many doctors will allow you to come in for a prenatal visit, which is essentially an interview. During the meeting, be sure to ask any questions you have about his or her qualifications, as well as his or her typical schedule, after-hours policy and hospital privileges.

4. Look for someone who shares your childrearing beliefs. Medical treatments like circumcision, vaccinations and antibiotics should be discussed, so you know what to expect when the time comes. Other areas you might want to agree on are breastfeeding habits, behavioral problems and any other topics you think are important.

5. Don’t forget about practical issues, like location and cost. You want a doctor that’s easy to reach in the event of an emergency, and you don’t want to be paying too many out-of-pocket bills.

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