Learn more about what a pediatrician does for your baby, and how to find the right one.
A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in children’s health from birth all the way through early adulthood. Since pediatricians see only children, they have the most expertise in identifying and treating childhood illnesses and issues that may need more specialized care. Choosing your baby’s pediatrician is among the many important decisions you’ll make for your child. It’s best to do your research and choose your doctor before your little one is born. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your pediatrician, because you’ll be seeing a lot of each other, especially during the first year of your baby’s life! Once you’re home from the hospital and during the first few days of your newborn’s life, your pediatrician will see your baby for a check-up at their office. From there, you’ll continue bringing in your baby to see the pediatrician for scheduled wellness visits throughout your baby’s first year and beyond.
Tips for Finding a Pediatrician:
Start looking for a pediatrician several months before your due date so you have time to make a well-informed choice.
Find out from other parents you know where they bring their children and why they like their doctor.
Ask your OB/GYN, midwife, hospital or insurance company to provide a referral, or search for pediatricians here.
Call and make sure the pediatrician is taking new patients and will accept your health insurance.
Note which pediatricians have convenient locations and office hours.
Before deciding on a pediatrician, arrange an interview and meet him or her in person.
Here are some questions you can ask:
Do you take my insurance?
Which hospitals are you affiliated with?
How do I contact you if my child gets sick and I have questions in the evening or on weekends?
When you are not on call, who covers for you?
How long will it take to schedule a non-emergency appointment for my child?
What is the typical wait time in the office?
QUICK TIP: A newborn is typically seen by a pediatrician at birth in the hospital and a few days after leaving the hospital. You can start looking for a pediatrician for your child while you are still pregnant so you have one ready for your child at birth.