How should I pick a doctor for my baby?

You have flawlessly planned almost everything about your pregnancy. You perfectly surprised your family and friends with a cute baby announcement. You’ve decorated every aspect of your nursery to fit your jungle theme. You even know exactly what you and your baby will wear home from the hospital. But do you know who your baby’s doctor will be?

It’s never too early to start thinking about who you want to care for your newborn after delivery. In fact, many women begin researching pediatricians as soon as they see those two little lines on their pregnancy test.

How do I choose a pediatrician?

When you first learned you were pregnant, you took the time to research the appropriate doctor who could meet your pregnancy needs. The same goes for finding a doctor for your baby. You want one who fits your family and your lifestyle.

There are many ways you can evaluate doctors to determine which is right for you. Asking these questions can help a lot:

  • Do I care what type of doctor it is? Pediatricians are doctors who specialize solely in children’s health care. Children are the only patients that pediatricians see, and they see them all throughout their childhood. But, there are other types of health care professionals who are also highly qualified to care for your child. Family Medicine doctors can treat your child, you and anyone else in your family. Other excellent options include physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are specifically trained in children’s health care.
  • Can you recommend a doctor? Talk with your family and friends to get a feel for which doctors are recommended in your area. You can ask fellow parents or even your OB-GYN. Research doctors online and look on your insurance providers’ website for those doctors who are in-network. This will help you make an informed decision.
  • Where is the doctor’s office located? After your baby is born, his very first check-up will be scheduled within the first two weeks of delivery. You will then continue to take him in regularly for routine wellness visits. In fact, before your baby celebrates his first birthday, you will have taken him in at least six times just for routine check-ups! You might have to go in even more often than that for weight or jaundice checks, or if your baby gets sick. Make it easy on yourself by selecting a doctor that is closer to your home or future daycare.
  • How much will these office visits cost? Most insurances fully cover routine well care for children. But, it’s important to check out your specific insurance plan to see what type of benefits you have. Contact your insurance provider to learn more about the details of your plan so you can find a doctor who is right for you and your baby.
  • Can I meet a doctor before my baby is born? Call the clinic and see what opportunities they offer to meet doctors.
  • Do I get along with the doctor? You’re looking for more than just a doctor. You are looking for someone to help guide your child’s development and your parenting throughout their entire childhood. Your baby’s doctor needs to be someone you are comfortable talking to and trust.
  • Can I easily communicate with the doctor? You’ll constantly be faced with questions as you navigate your new life with a newborn. You’ll want your doctor to be someone you can be open with and turn to for help in any situation.
  • How do I contact the doctor’s office after hours? It always seems that your child will develop a cough or have a fever spike in the middle of the night. Find out who will be available after hours to talk through your child’s symptoms and treatment options. Westfields offers 24/7 nurse support through our CareLine, 715-243-3400.
  • Is this doctor or clinic accepting new patients? Sometimes, though not often, offices will be closed to new patients. Double check that your targeted doctor is accepting new patients.

What if it turns out to not be a good fit?

That’s okay! In a perfect relationship, you trust our medical advice and rely on us to help guide you through the process of raising a healthy child. If it’s not working out, it’s okay to look for another provider. We want your child to get high quality, routine care! For that to happen you and your child need to be happy.

There’s a lot to remember when you are pregnant and your ‘to-do’ list continues to get longer as you prepare for your new baby. Find some time now to research a doctor who will fit your lifestyle and your individual needs.