Know What You're Looking For
Once you've gotten a few referrals, find out if the doctors accept your health insurance. If your candidates are on the list, they're board-certified. (If you still have any questions about credentials, you can look doctors up on the American Board of Medical Specialties Web site at abms.org.)
Your next consideration: Is the office close by? You'll be going there more than 10 times in your baby's first year alone for checkups and shots, and it'll be a huge relief when the kid breaks out in a mysterious rash that you want looked at stat! Nevertheless, vicinity isn't the most pressing concern for everyone. Even though she had to drive two towns over to get there, Massachusetts mom Alice Domar, herself a doctor, insisted on a practice associated with an academic medical center.
Do a little soul-searching to figure out what's most important to you. For example, do you want availability after-hours and on weekends? Do you want the flexibility of a group practice or the consistency of a solo practitioner? Is there a hospital where you'd prefer that the pediatrician have privileges?
You may also have special concerns that narrow your list of options. Lisa McElwee of Upper Montclair, New Jersey, sought out a pediatrician who had experience with a rare genetic disorder she feared her baby might be born with.