Choosing a doctor for your new baby is an important task that takes time and research. Start looking before your baby is born. If you haven't chosen a physician, not to worry, your birthing facility will have a list of physicians in your area to choose from
The first step in choosing a practitioner for your baby is to decide on what type of health care provider you would like. A pediatrician is the most commonly used health care provider for infants and children here in the United States. Pediatricians have attended 4 years of medical school and 3 additional years of specialized training focusing on infant and children's health topics. Pediatricians usually follow their patients until the
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age of 18, however, some may follow their patients longer. Another type of health care provider is a family physician. This doctor cares for the entire family, regardless of age. These physicians have also attended 4 years of medical school and 3 additional years of specialty training in various areas of medicine including (but not limited to) obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery and internal medicine. A board-certified physician has passed a rigorous test covering various medical conditions relating to their scope of practice.
Once you have thought about the type of doctor you would like for your baby, it's time to ask for recommendations from family members, friends and other moms. This is usually a great way to find out the inside scoop. Your OB-GYN, midwife or nurse can also be invaluable resources. Be sure to review your insurance policy to see which doctors are covered by your plan. Once you have narrowed your list, contact the doctor(s) to schedule a consultation (be sure to ask if there is a charge). Consultations are a great way for you to ask questions and see if you and the doctor's personalities mesh.
Before your consultation, take some time to think about some topics and questions of importance. This can include questions pertaining to:
- Office hours
- Which hospital(s) the doctor has privileges in
- Vaccination schedule
- Views on breastfeeding
- Views on circumcision
- Views on antibiotics
- Views on holistic/alternative healthcare practices
- Who answers emergency calls
- Who answers routine calls
- Who will follow your baby in the event of hospitalization
- Separate waiting area for sick visits and well visits
- Usual waiting time to be seen
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Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST