When you found out you were pregnant, you took the time to find the best obstetrician for you. Well, now it’s time to find a pediatrician for your baby. And the process should be just as thorough. Finding the right pediatrician takes some time, and rightfully so. After all, this is the doctor who will be responsible for the care of your baby for the next 18 years (and probably answer all of your anxiety-riddled questions as a new parent). This is why it’s important to know the right questions to ask a pediatrician.
Most parents aren’t aware that you can set up an interview with potential pediatricians but you totally can — and should! Taking the time to meet a number of doctors while also being clear and intentional with your questions will help you decide on the best doctor for your family and will save you a lot of anxiety and a last-minute push to find one.
So with that in mind, we compiled a list of questions to help get you started. Add more personalized queries as you see fit. Afterward, we highlighted some questions you should ask yourself.
How to Interview a Pediatrician
That’s right — you’re in the driver’s seat. Don’t be shy, remember you want to make sure this arrangement is a good one for all parties involved, especially for your baby. Typically (and thankfully), these interviews don’t last very long. You’ll meet with a doctor for about fifteen to thirty minutes and get a firsthand feel on who they are, and whether you feel comfortable with them or not. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about them and their practice and get a better understanding on whether it’s a good fit for you and your little one. To make sure you cover all the necessary basics of finding the best doctor for your family, it’s a good idea to come prepared with a list of questions for the pediatrician.
Questions to Ask a Pediatrician
Like any good interview, the success and efficacy of the meeting is contingent upon the questions you ask. There aren’t any “right” answers, but only the right answers that work for you. For example, are they in sync with your philosophy on wellness and health? Do you like how the office is run? We recommend keeping the following list close by at the doctor’s office.
- What is your medical education, training, and certification?
- Why did you choose pediatrics?
- Do you have children?
- How long have you been in practice?
- Are you a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics?
- Do you have any sub-specialties?
- What is your childcare philosophy?
- What are your views on vaccines, antibiotics, alternative medicine, bottle feeding, circumcision, sleep training, etc.?
- Will you discuss issues such my child’s emotional and social development?
- Will you examine my newborn infant in the hospital? How often?
- Are there other doctors/nurse practitioners/physician’s assistants in the practice?
- Who sees me if my child is sick?
- How do you handle emergences? Who sees me in an after-hours emergency?
- What hospitals do you work with? If my child has to be hospitalized, where would she be admitted?
- What is your schedule for baby’s well checkups?
- Is there a separate waiting room for well and sick appointments?
- Do you accept patients whose families have chosen not to vaccinate?
- How far in advance do well appointments need to be scheduled?
- Do you offer same-day sick appointments?
- Do you have call-in hours?
- What are your office hours?
- Who will be answering questions in the office?
- When are you typically available?
- How long does a typical check-up last?
- Do you do house calls?
- What is your policy on medication?
- What do you charge for office visits, lab tests, and immunizations?
- Will I be charged for telephone consultations?
- Will I be charged for a canceled appointment?
- What tests are handled in the office, and what is done elsewhere? Where?
- Do you take my insurance plan?
- What are your policies for insurance claims, lab policies, payments, and billing?
- Will I be billed for a visit, or will I have to pay at once?
- Which methods of payment are accepted?
- Are you part of a group practice?
- Does your staff do the paperwork, or must I?
- Where did you do your residency?
- Will your first meeting with my baby be at the hospital or at the first checkup?
- How far in advance do we need to schedule well-baby appointments?
Questions to Ask Yourself
It’s always a good idea to check in with yourself too after your interviews. Consider these questions.
- Were you comfortable around the doctor?
- Did you feel safe in their presence?
- Did you like their communication style?
- Were you able to connect effectively?
- Did the interview feel rushed?
- Did your child connect to the doctor?
- Do you like how the office was run?
- What were your impressions?
- Was the office clean?
- Did the office have children’s books and toys?
- Was the office staff friendly?
- Was the office close to your home?
- Was there accessible parking?
- How did you like the staff?
- How long did you wait before seeing the doctor?
Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician about Newborns
- Are there any formula brands you recommend for my baby?
- What is the best way to soothe my baby?
- Do you have any recommendation for a lactation consultant?
- How should I handle a gassy baby?
- How long should my baby sleep each night?
- How can I tell if my baby has reflux?
- What are your thoughts about pacifiers?