Choosing a pediatrician is a daunting decision. You are, after all, entrusting this person to care for the health of your little one. You should choose a pediatrician before your baby is born, as they will want to check on your baby shortly after they are born. You'll want to set up interviews with a few of your top choices to figure out which pediatrician is the best fit for your family. There are a number of factors that go into this decision.
1. Insurance - Does the pediatrician accept your baby's insurance? This is the first area you may want to check because baby's first year of life involves a LOT of doctors visits which can really add up. It's best to try to stick with a pediatrician in your baby's insurance's network.
2. Office Location - How close is the doctor's office from where you live? How far are you comfortable driving to take your child to the doctor? Some pediatric practices have multiple locations which is convenient especially if you live, work and have daycare in different areas.
3. Hours of Operation - Consider how the doctor's office hour fit into your schedule. Do they have evening hours or an after hours office? What is the after hours procedure? Will there always be a doctor on call?
5. Vaccination Schedule - Some pediatricians require all of their patients to have vaccinations on schedule, others support non-vaxxing, selective vaxxing or delayed vaccination schedules. If this is particularly important to you, make sure your pediatrician supports (or at least allows) your decision.
6. Office Layout - Does the office have separate "sick" and "well" rooms? This is important to many parents, especially when bringing in a tiny newborn who hasn't developed a strong immune system yet or had their vaccines.
8. General Philosophy - Does the office support breastfeeding? co-sleeping? baby led weaning? holistic therapies? Whatever is important to you, it's going to go a long way to have the support of your pediatrician, especially in those first few months.