How to Select a Pediatrician

Meet Doctors Face-to-Face

Now you can whittle down your list and schedule face-to-face meetings with some of the doctors (up to three is reasonable). When setting up an interview, or a prenatal visit as they're sometimes called, be sure to ask if the doctor charges for such a meeting -- some do, and the fees probably aren't covered by insurance. You should be able to get in within a few weeks, although some pediatricians do monthly group meet and greets.

By now you likely have opinions on, say, breastfeeding and vaccines, and these topics can be great conversation starters. This was the case for Kelley Thompson, from Flower Mound, Texas, when she met with one doctor and brought up breastfeeding. "It was important to me," she says. "But if it didn't work out, I liked that this pediatrician wasn't going to judge me."

Only ask questions that are relevant to you, not ones you think you're supposed to bring up. "Some questions, like about their education, make it seem like you're trying to 'catch' the doctor," says Laura Jana, MD, coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn. "When thinking up questions, ask yourself, 'If they answer a certain way, will I care?'"

Some questions, however, are essential. What is the doctor's availability? If she works with a group practice, as most pediatricians do these days, what's the likelihood of seeing her for most visits? And if your baby has a sudden high fever at midnight, who would be on call -- a nurse or your doctor?

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