If this is your first baby, we recommend scheduling a "prenatal" or "meet the doctor" visit with a few pediatricians before the baby is born before you decide on who your baby's doctor will be. If the physician does not offer this service gratis, check with your health insurance to see if they cover this type of visit.
Whoever you choose will be your baby's primary source of medical care and your lifeline to learning what is normal vs. abnormal and how to care for your baby's everyday needs. Sometimes picking the right doctor comes down to finding the right fit regarding personality and practice style. However, by having a basic list of questions ready (as below), you can cover all logistical details.
- Medical Insurance — Is your office in-network and accepts my medical insurance?
- Medical Training and Experience — Where did they attend medical school and pediatric residency? How many years have you been practicing outside of residency?
- Hours of Operation and Locations — What are the locations of your office-based practice? What days and hours is the office open?
- Sick Visits — How does scheduling work for same-day sick visits?
- After-hours care — Is the office open after hours on evenings or weekends? If the office is closed, how are medical concerns addressed and triaged? And, where would I take my sick or injured child after hours?
- Hospital Privileges — Do they have privileges where you plan on giving birth? If my baby needs hospitalization, where would they be admitted?
- Doctor Coverage — Who covers for you when you are out of the office?
- Timeliness — If having a doctor who runs on a schedule like a swiss clock is important to you, ask about average wait times for scheduled visits.
- Special Topics — Do they have any particular medical interests? If you have questions or concerns about the standard of care, such as circumcision, vaccinations, breastfeeding, and lactation support, now is the time to bring them to light and gather important information.
- Overall Observations — Did the physician address all of your concerns and take the time to answer your questions? Did their personality fit your needs? Did the environment of the office and staff demeanor suit you?
In addition to finding the right health care professional for your baby, there are things you can do to create a healthier environment for your baby at home. Some basic steps and precautions can make your home a greener, cleaner, and healthier place for a newborn. You can read more about creating this haven by using some of your resting downtime to read Healthy Child, Healthy World.
Cord Blood Banking
Whether or not to bank your baby's cord blood is a personal decision with reasons that can vary from family to family. Given that the stem cells in cord blood potentially hold the secret to helping many illnesses, including cancer, it is a viable biological agent with value. Even if you don't think private banking is for you, a donation is also an option to consider instead of throwing it out after birth. Read more about cord blood banking, so you can make a well-informed decision.