Why You Should Find a Pediatrician Before Your Baby Is Born

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There are many concerns parents have to worry about before their child is born, including finding a professional and caring pediatrician. New parents may not be prepared for the work that goes into selecting a new doctor for their baby. There are many reasons why families want to start their search early. 

First-year Check-ups 

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the leading voice in children’s healthcare, recommends a check-up within the first three to five days of birth, so having a doctor lined up is an absolute necessity. After the first check-up, new parents should prepare to spend a lot of time in the waiting room. Baby’s continue to have appointments at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months throughout their first 365 days of life. Here is a reduced breakdown of what to expect:

On their first day, pediatricians conduct a standard check. They look for a newborn’s alertness, skin tone (are they jaundiced?), hip flexibility, and standard reflexes like blinking and flinching. Throughout their first year of development, pediatricians continue to keep tabs on your baby’s physical and cognitive growth. They will measure and weigh your baby at each visit, as well as see if they are reaching typical milestones, like holding up their head or crawling. Pediatricians will also check to see if there are any behavioral concerns. Each appointment will include a physical exam by looking at your baby’s ears, feet, heart, lungs, and all other areas. Doctors also conduct a hearing screening, administer a Hepatitis B vaccine, and test their blood from their heel for any potential diseases. 

The subsequent check-ups are similar to the first. Pediatricians continue to check your baby’s growth process in these areas and also see if they are eating properly. At each visit, it is likely your baby will receive a new vaccine including, Tuberculosis, Tetanus, Pertussis, flu shots, and more. 

Vetting Potentials 

Because you will spend hours in the pediatrician’s office during the first year of your child’s life, you will want to make sure you find an inviting, close location with a friendly staff and a board-certified doctor you trust. This will put you at ease that your newborn is receiving the proper care from an MD who can help guide you through your child’s development but your search may take some time. It is recommended to start looking three months before your delivery date. 

If you have friends in your neighborhood, asking for suggestions is a great place to start. Second to personal recommendations is online research. Start by Googling doctors local to your area, such as a pediatrician in West Lake Hills, a pediatrician in Mount Arlington, a pediatrician in Lake Forest, or a pediatrician in Denver. Read up on nearby offices to find if they offer the services you need, are open during convenient times, are conveniently located, and that they accept your insurance. 

Once you have found a few offices you like, give the front desk and doctor a call. Write down questions that are important to you to get a sense of who may be the right fit. Pay attention to how quickly they respond to your message, if the staff is helpful, and other clues that might give you insight into their operation. Checking out their websites, social media accounts, and online reviews are also helpful. All of this research takes time and should not be put off. 

A Long Term Patient-Doctor Relationship. 

Most kids transition out of pediatrics by the time they are 18 to 21 years old. Children are typically healthy, so standard appointments include sick visits, sports physicals, wellness visits, and immunizations, but this relationship will last a quarter of their lifetime. By the time children reach adulthood, their pediatrician could have treated their first cold, stitched up a wound, cast a broken ankle, pierced their ears, and many other treatments and procedures. Planning ensures that you are comfortable with your selection and have already started to build a relationship that will last for decades.

Finding the right pediatrician can also be helpful in the transition into their next phase of life and care with a general practitioner or family doctor. In some cases, new adults do not want to leave the comfort of the practice and people they’ve grown familiar with, and finding the right doctor can help with the change. 

Due to the amount of time it takes to research a pediatrician, the multitude of check-ups and appointments in the first year of your baby’s life, and the long-term doctor-patient relationship your child will have with their pediatrician, you should put time and energy into making the right choice. Doing so can save your family stress in the future, so you don’t have to switch doctors or compromise the level of care your child deserves.