New and expectant mothers handle having a baby differently, especially when choosing a pediatrician. While some women rely on referrals, others complete their own due diligence by actively researching and interviewing a pediatrician and other healthcare professionals.
There is no right answer, but we believe it is wise to be prepared and select your healthcare team well in advance of your due dates. The Members Mark® Infant Formula editorial team consulted with its healthcare professional advisory to compile a checklist of questions to ask when interviewing a pediatrician.
Learn as much as you can about the pediatrician and the practice
You and your child's pediatrician are in it for the long haul. Choosing a pediatrician is an important decision, so ask as many questions as you can to get to know your baby's care provider. Here are a few suggested questions or topics that should cover the basics. Be sure to take plenty of notes during your research and interviews.
- Ask the physician where he or she completed their pediatric medical training.
- Make certain he or she is board certified in pediatrics.
- How long has the pediatrician been in practice?
- How many physicians are in the practice? If the pediatrician is the only one, ask if he or she is associated with other pediatricians to ensure adequate coverage in the event your primary is unavailable or not on call when it's go-time.
- Double-check what happens if your preferred pediatrician is unavailable for delivery. Be crystal clear on this point.
- Ask about the practice's staff member credentials.
- Which hospitals is the physician/practice affiliated with?
- Check to see if the pediatrician accepts your insurance plan.
- Ask what the office hours are and determine if the pediatrician and practice welcomes telephone calls or emails. What staff members answer calls and emails and how will they be handled?
- Does the practice offer internet access?
- Is there a patient welcome packet available that you can have?
Ask specific infant feeding/care questions post-delivery
Remember there is no silly question or number of questions when it comes to deciding the best fits for your family and baby. Caring for baby after birth can be confusing, especially when you are released from the hospital. You need to know that you can count on your pediatric care providers post-delivery. Here are some suggested questions or topics intended to support your research efforts.
- Ask your pediatrician if he or she will visit your baby after the delivery in the hospital.
- Will your pediatrician be available to care for your infant if your newborn needs to be hospitalized?
- Ask your pediatrician how he or she will handle immunization and related scheduling.
- Ask if the pediatric practice can accommodate or manage same-day appointments and emergencies.
- Ask where you can take your baby if your regular practice is closed if he or she needs prompt care.
- Does your pediatrician's office have a separate waiting room for sick children?
- If you decide to breastfeed, ask your pediatrician if there is a lactation consultant available to help you at the practice. Always confer with your healthcare professional of choice on infant feeding decisions.
- If you haven't made a decision on how you will feed your baby, discuss breastfeeding and infant formula feeding with your child's physician.
- The AAP and other experts agree on the benefits of breastfeeding.
- The AAP and pediatric medical community also agree that infant formula is a safe, science-supported, nutritious means to nourish babies.
- If you and your pediatrician decide on formula feeding, which baby formula brands does he or she typically recommend?
- Ask your pediatrician about Members Mark® Formula and other store-brand infant formulas. All infant formula brands, including store brands, must meet the same FDA standards.
- If you have a baby boy, ask your pediatrician for his or her opinion on circumcision.
- Ask your physician's opinion and recommendations on going back to work and childcare.
- Will your physician help monitor and provide feedback on your child's growth and development?
After you've interviewed a pediatrician and completed your doctor interview checklist, reflect upon your experience and rate your overall impressions of the pediatrician and practice.
- Is the doctor's office convenient and easy to get to?
- Is the office clean and organized?
- Did you have to wait long for your appointment?
- Did the pediatrician and his staff make you feel welcome and comfortable?
Never feel shy about asking for take-home materials that can educate you about the physician, practice, staff members and journey from pregnancy to motherhood.