The prospect of finding a pediatrician can be overwhelming for a first-time expectant mom. You want a great practice, doctors you trust, an office you can walk to, a space you feel comfortable in…and maybe there are specific issues that are important to you – such as their view on vaccinations or sleep training. And don’t forget other considerations, like how to contact the office after hours, who will call you back when you have a question, and whether they take sick visits on weekends and holidays.
It’s a good idea to ask other local moms for suggestions in the neighborhood to help narrow down your search. And then you can make appointments with your short list to interview pediatricians. This is a common practice and expected by the office – in fact, they often have times set aside to meet prospective parents or even have group sessions. It’s a good idea to start this process a couple months before your due date, so you’re all lined up by the time you give birth (and prepared in case you go into labor early!).
You should personalize your question list to the issues that are important to you. Here’s a list to get you started…
Pediatrician Interview Questions
Which hospital is this practice associated with?
Will a pediatrician from the practice see the baby in the hospital?
[Group Practice] Do we choose a primary doctor or will we be seen by any doctor?
[Solo Practice] Who covers patients when you’re sick or away?
When should we expect to come in for our first visit after the baby is born?
What is the schedule for well visits in the first year?
What is the practice’s position on vaccinations?
Do you recommend having the baby get the Hep B vaccine in the hospital?
Is it ok to have play dates with other kids who aren’t properly vaccinated?
What is your recommendation for visitors and the TDAP vaccine/booster?
When is it ok to take the baby out in public? Travel by plane?
What are the office hours? Do you offer evening or weekend visits?
What’s the best way to reach the practice? Call, email, text, portal?
Who will call me back – our primary doctor, any doctor from the practice, or an RN?
Is someone always on call outside of normal business hours? 365 days per year? Who?
Do you offer same-day sick visits?
Are there different waiting rooms for well visits and sick visits?
Do you have labs on-site or will we need to go off-site for bloodwork?
What are your thoughts around breastfeeding, formula, bottles, pacifiers?
Do you recommend waking a baby up during the night to feed?
How long do you recommend keeping the baby in our room?
What are your thoughts on sleep training?
Are there any particular brands or products you’d recommend for the baby?
What do I absolutely need to have on-hand for when the baby arrives?
Do you have any thoughts around… Cord blood banking? Delayed cord clamping? Circumcision? Alternative medicine? Parenting techniques?
Do you recommend any supplements for the baby, such as vitamin D drops or iron?
How will I be able to access my child’s health records if I need them?
Are there any extra fees I should know about – e.g., to get forms filled out?