One of the first questions you'll be asked while you're checking into the hospital when you're in labor will be "Have you chosen a pediatrician?". Don't let that question surprise you! Choosing a pediatrician is important. For your baby and for you. You'll be going to this person for support, advice, and assistance during these first few days, months, and years. You want it to be someone you can be comfortable with and that you trust. Here are a few things to consider or that will help you when choosing your pediatrician.
Word of Mouth
Get out there in your mommy groups, Facebook groups, family, and friends and get a few recommendations. This could get overwhelming but perhaps you'll see the same name a few times which will help narrow down your selection. Going directly to those few close mommy friends is also a great (and possibly easier) way to find a pediatrician that you love. Make sure to be specific on the things that are important to you. A referral isn't as useful if the pediatrician is opposite of your parenting style.
This one is important! Nothing is worse than leaving the pediatrician's office feeling like a terrible mom because your parenting values don't align with your doctors. Make sure when searching that you take into account your views on vaccines, circumcision, breastfeeding, formula feeding, and other options you may want to consider. You may want someone who will give you plenty of options or you may want someone who will tell you exactly what and how to do something. Research what an M.D. is and what a D.O. is and see if one or the other align with your views more. Your provider should respect your view as a parent, where-ever you stand.
You also want to take into account the logistical issues. The location is a common concern; is it close to your home or childcare? Are you okay with the drive? What about hours and after hours? What do you do in the case of an emergency, or an after hours inquiry? What about their partners; can you meet them, what's their style, when will they be on call? Will your pediatrician speak to you over the phone or answer your email? I love offices that have well hours and sick hours, so ask about that!
Insurance and Hospital Affiliations
Make sure to consider who will take your insurance, are the in or out of network? What hospitals do they have privileges at and are those hospitals in your insurance network?
Most pediatricians will offer a complimentary consultation with them. Bring a list of questions and see if you would be a good fit. Don't forget if you find a few months down the road that you don't mesh as well as you thought, you can always find a new pediatrician. No need to be worried about hurt feelings, do what is best for your family. Good luck on your search!