How to Choose a Pediatrician
Choosing the right pediatrician for your child is one of the biggest decisions you'll make as a parent. Experts say that it's a good idea to choose a physician who is not only well-trained but with whom you are comfortable talking. After all, you will discuss everything that happens in your child's life from teething to thumb-sucking, bed wetting, immunizations, and more. Many doctors offer a prenatal interview, which will allow you to see if the doctor's personality is compatible with yours. You should feel comfortable asking questions and should not feel rushed during the interview. When calling for an interview, ask if there is a fee.
Some people know who they want to care for their child even before they are expecting. A good person to ask about finding a pediatrician is your obstetrician or nurse-midwife. Friends, especially local parents or other patients in your obstetrician's office are also good sources for referrals.
If you are new to the area, you may want to choose a pediatrician affiliated with Baystate Children's Hospital at Baystate Medical Center. For a list of our pediatricians, search Find a Doctor for "pediatrics" or call Baystate Health Link at 413-773-8557 for a referral. Representatives will be happy to give you a list of pediatricians on staff at any Baystate Health hospital and pertinent background education and board certifications information.
Most offices will let you interview a potential pediatrician, which is a great way to find out if that physician is right for you.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Pediatrician
- What are the office hours?
How long will we have to wait for an appointment?
What types of health insurance does the practice accept? Payment arrangements?
How often will the pediatrician want to see your baby for routine checkups?
Can the pediatrician or another member of the practice be reached at night?
How do you get in touch with them in case of an emergency?
What are his or her ideas on issues such as breastfeeding, infant feeding, circumcision, child behavior or any other area of concern for you?
At which hospital(s) does he or she admit patients?
When you check into the hospital to give birth, the hospital staff will ask you for your pediatrician's name. After the birth of your baby, we will contact this physician. He or she will visit your baby each day while in the hospital and arrange office check-ups after you are both discharged.