Choosing Your Baby’s Doctor

Before the baby is born it is good to decide which doctor you will take your baby to. This will be either a family doctor or a pediatrician. Either can be a good choice, and they both have unique advantages.

Family doctors take care of patients of all ages. They see newborns all the way to geriatric patients. Family doctors’ big advantage is they have a broader perspective on health issues. If they take care of the whole family, the family doctor can use the knowledge about the family as a whole to better treat the baby. Sometimes understanding what is going on in the family as a whole can give insights to specific problems with the baby.

Pediatricians take care of children exclusively. The advantage of pediatricians is that since they specialize in only children, they can concentrate more on pediatric health issues. They tend to do better with more esoteric or unusual health problems. If your baby has special needs, a pediatrician may be a better bet.

Personally, I take my children to a family doctor who is my doctor as well. But a pediatrician is also a good choice.

Once you have decided what type of doctor to bring your baby to, the next question is which specific doctor. Choosing a doctor can be challenging. If you have other kids, you may want to take them all to the same doctor. Then the choice is simple. If you see a family doctor for your own health care, that may be a good choice for your baby. Ask your friends who they take their children to. You can ask your obstetrician for a recommendation as well. If you are going to be delivered by a family doctor, you may want them to see the baby. Many practices have appointments to interview the doctor to see if they are a good match for you. Things to ask are how hard it is to get a same day appointment, how convenient the office is to you, and how questions are answered.

Most hospitals will ask who the baby’s doctor will be on the per-registration form. This way the nurses will know who to call when the baby is born. Most insurance companies will automatically cover the baby for the first 30 days. This gives you time to add the baby to your policy. Call your insurance and find out their specific protocol.