With so much emphasis and focus on preparing for labor and birth during your pregnancy, it's easy to overlook preparing for baby! It's just as important (if not more) to spend time preparing for baby's arrival and the early weeks and months of parenthood. One of the steps involved is choosing your baby's pediatrician. Somewhere in your third trimester, take some time to investigate, interview, and select a pediatrician for your child. Like choosing your prenatal care provider (midwife or OB), it's equally important to do your homework when choosing a pediatrician. We've prepared a few tips to help you select the best pediatrician for you and your baby.
1. Determine what's important. What are you looking for in a pediatrician? Good bedside manner? Short wait times? Holistic care? Of those things, which ones are most important? Would you be willing to trade longer wait times for a pediatrician who offers more naturopathic care?
2. Word of mouth. This is a great place to start, but should not be your only input. Talk to friends, family members, your doula, childbirth educators, and other mom friends to find out who they recommend or use. Find out what it is that they like about their pediatrician to see if the attributes they value match yours.
3. Schedule interviews. Most pediatricians are willing to schedule a free interview to see if you are a good fit. If they're not, you may want to think twice about choosing the practice. When calling to schedule an interview, be sure to ask first whether the practice accepts your insurance. That's a quick way to weed out different pediatrician offices. Prepare a few questions to help guide you in your interview. BabyCenter has an excellent printable interview sheet here.
4. Compare the results. After your interviews, input from friends, and taking stock of your gut feeling, choose your pediatrician. If you're still unsure, let it sit with you for a bit. Remember too, that if you attend a few appointments after your baby is born and aren't happy with the care, you can switch pediatricians at any time.
How did you go about choosing your baby's pediatrician? What qualities are most important to you?