Picking a Pediatrician for Your Newborn


Your final months of pregnancy are a flurry of preparation: putting the final touches on the nursery, baby showers and deciding on baby names. But have you picked out your baby’s doctor yet? Jordan Kridler, M.D., a Henry Ford pediatrician, says the best time to choose your child’s pediatrician is actually during the final months of pregnancy.

“There are many important reasons to choose your baby’s pediatrician before you deliver,” Dr. Kridler says. “Your baby needs to be seen within days after birth, and you don’t have a lot of time to think about choosing a doctor then.”

She points out that if your baby needs a pediatrician in the hospital after delivery and you have not selected one – or your chosen pediatrician does not practice at the hospital where you deliver – most hospitals will assign you to an in-house pediatrician or “hospitalist.” Often, hospitalists only see patients while they are in the hospital, and you will need to see another doctor after discharge. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a checkup within 48 to 72 hours after your newborn is discharged from the hospital.

How to Choose the Right Doctor for Your Family

Ask for referrals from family and friends or other parents you know and trust. You should also consider asking your obstetrician (OB-GYN) for advice on selecting your baby’s doctor. Be sure to check with your insurance company to ensure the doctor is in your network.

Dr. Kridler says it’s very important to select a pediatrician with whom you feel comfortable. Finding a doctor with a compatible personality is vital.

“You are going to be spending a lot of time at the office during the first year of your baby’s life, so it’s probably best to pick a pediatrician fairly close to home,” she says.

Office staff should be able to answer basic questions, such as what insurance they accept, their billing practices and how after-hours appointment needs or emergencies are handled. Once you talk to the pediatrician, you can get details on who “covers” the practice when that pediatrician is away and what immunization policies and schedules are followed. Some pediatricians will not treat children whose parents wish to deviate from immunization schedules.

“Most pediatric offices have ‘meet and greet’ events or appointments for expectant parents,” Dr. Kridler says. “You can see the office, meet the provider and see that it’s a good fit.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the most important test of the pediatrician you have selected is how that doctor cares for your child and responds to your concerns. If you are unhappy or feel like you have unanswered questions, you should speak to the pediatrician about the problem. If the doctor's response does not address your concerns, or if the problem cannot be resolved, it’s OK to find another provider.

To make an appointment or find a Henry Ford pediatrician in your area, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD.

Dr. Jordan Kridler is a board-certified pediatrician seeing patients at Henry Ford Medical Center in Royal Oak.

Categories: ParentWell