• Selecting a Pediatrician

    Choosing the right healthcare provider for your baby is big decision. Before you deliver, you should already have a provider chosen that you have already met. The time after your baby is born can be hectic, and having a pediatrician selected before will not add to your stress as a new parent.

    There are two types of providers to consider. A pediatrician specializes in the care of children from birth to age 21. Some parents prefer a family practitioner who specializes in family medicine and can treat the whole family from birth to old age. Check to see if the provider is board certified in their area of expertise and if they are a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    Begin the search for your pediatrician around 28 weeks into your pregnancy. This should give you plenty of time to properly research and choose the right provider for your baby. You may want to begin by contacting your insurance company to see if they have a list of area providers for you to choose from. You can also ask your friends and family for recommendations. Consider how close the doctor is to your home as you will be visiting the office frequently in your baby’s first year.  

    Once you have selected two to three providers, call their offices and set up a “meet and greet” visit where you can spend time with the provider to see if they have the warmth, sensitivity and professionalism you’re seeking. It is helpful to have a list of questions you would like to ask. Remember to ask the questions that are important to you. When calling to arrange this visit be sure and find out if they charge a fee for this appointment.

    Possible questions to ask when visiting pediatrician offices:

    1. What are your office hours? Do they include evenings and weekends?
    2. Is someone on call for the group 24/7?
    3. What is the typical wait time for an appointment? Are same-day appointments or sick visits available?
    4. How does the office handle telephone calls/questions?
    5. Will we be able to see the same provider every time we visit?
    6. How do you support breastfeeding?
    7. Who are the other members of your staff? (nurses, nurse practitioners, medical techs)
    8. Are there separate waiting areas for sick/well patients?

    When you arrive at the hospital to deliver, the admitting staff will ask you for the name of your pediatrician. If you have already selected a provider, please let the staff know at that time. If not, AAMC has pediatricians who are "on call" and you will be assigned one of those doctors. They will see your baby while you are here in the hospital. It is your choice to continue with them or choose another physician for your baby once you are home. Some of the pediatric offices do not see their newborns at the hospital. If you have chosen one of those groups, you will also be assigned an "on call" doctor to care for your baby while at AAMC. Once you are home you will make your follow up appointments with your selected pediatrician.