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5 Essential Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Pediatrician

There are so many things to look forward to during your last trimester of pregnancy: swollen feet and/or fingers, heartburn, the inability to get comfortable while sleeping…shall I go on? But really, you know I can’t sugarcoat things. It is what it is. So with all this going on, if I can help give you a little piece of mind and some helpful (non-sugarcoated advice), you know I definitely will.

Before your baby arrives, you’ll want to have a pediatrician picked out (preferably before you’re 36 weeks). We were very lucky because two separate friends (who don’t know each other) both recommended the same pediatrician. Figured we couldn’t go wrong. But have I mentioned I am a worrier? I tend to worry. And I was definitely worried about picking the right doctor for our baby.

You see, I had Harper with a midwife at a birthing center. Naturally (see what I did there?), I was worried about going to a “regular” doctor and having them just not get our whole philosophy on things. So I called up the office and asked if Eric and I could make an appointment to meet with the pediatrician. Luckily, after meeting with her I felt SO much better. I could tell immediately that she was the right fit for us. How did I know? Simple. I asked her the 5 following questions.

This is a must-read for all expectant mothers! Choosing the right doctor for your baby is so important. I never thought to ask these questions. So glad I found this!

1. Do you support breastfeeding mothers?

You’d be so surprised how many stories I heard in my pre-natal birth classes about doctors (even female doctors) in the area who actually discouraged new moms from breastfeeding. As I mentioned in this post, if you intend on breastfeeding, don’t let anyone (let alone a doctor) discourage you. Obviously no one can make you do anything, but why choose a doctor who is not aligned with your beliefs?

2. What is your philosophy on prescribing antibiotics?

Let’s face it. Some doctors are medicine-happy. It doesn’t matter what your baby goes in for, they’ll leave with a prescription for something. I’m no doctor, but I sure know how to read. New thinking in the medical community has demonstrated that over-prescribing antibiotics to babies is not only ineffective, it can also have long-term consequences. If this is a concern for you like it was for us, be sure to ask their opinion on this.

3. Are the other doctors in the office like-minded?

Funny enough, we spent so much time making sure we chose the right doctor and when Harper was born, she was out of town on vacation. So for those first few visits we had to see the other doctors who were available. One of them was amazing, and the other one, well, let’s just say he wouldn’t want to meet me in a dark alley. Yes, I went there. Be sure to ask your pediatrician who they would recommend if they are unavailable, because more likely than not, you’ll be seeing the other doctors there, too.

4. Does your office have a 24-hour nurse hotline/weekend/holiday hours?

By the laws of the universe, babies never get sick when it’s convenient. For the record, every time I have been on the phone with the nurse’s hotline, it has always been between the hours of 9pm and 2 am and on a weekend. Never at like, 11 am on a Tuesday. Always, always in the middle of the night on a weekend.

5. Are you supportive of a natural/midwife birth? (if this applies)

I’m guessing you wouldn’t be surprised that some pediatricians do not support birth center births. They just believe babies should be born in hospitals, no exceptions. If you’re planning on birthing somewhere other than a hospital, be sure the pediatrician you choose is on board. Because ultimately, after your 48 hour check-up with the midwife, it’s your baby’s pediatrician you’ll be seeing.

Bonus Advice: When you give birth in the hospital, your pediatrician will come visit you there. If you give birth at a birthing center, you have to be checked out within 12 hours. When you get home, call your pediatrician’s office to set up your baby’s 48 hour visit. When I called, the lady who answered was so confused as to why I was calling and kept telling me that Harper’s doctor would come visit her in the hospital. Considering that I had just given birth I was so not in the mood for this. Although her doctor knew I was having her with the midwife, as I mentioned, she was out of town. So to save you some headache, make sure the office understands that you’ll be bringing the baby in for their 48 hour visit.

Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical advice. Just sharing my real experiences as a first time mom! 

Have any questions to add to the list? What was your experience like choosing a pediatrician for your little one?

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