Heading to the hospital to have your baby is a time of excitement mixed with a dose of anxiety. You don’t want to forget anything, but there are so many things to think about and remember. The reality is that you don’t have to have everything at the hospital. There are a few things that you will need in addition to clothes for baby and mom and any items mom needs to make the birth extra special. Knowing who will provide medical care for your son or daughter after he or she is discharged home is one of the things that makes transitioning home easier. Your OB or the hospital may provide recommendations or offer Newborn Services on site if you have not identified a doctor at discharge.
Selecting the Pediatrician that is right for you is one thing that can be done before the baby is born. The selection of a Pediatrician is often not on the top of the pregnancy to do list, but doing the investigative work ahead of time, makes life easier when you are busy with your new baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy newborns discharged from the hospital have their first pediatric visit within 48 hours or sooner under certain circumstances. Your baby will have checkup appointments initially every 2 months for the first 6 months then every three months until the first birthday. It is important that you build a relationship with the doctor and that you and the doctor have similar philosophies. Doing some homework now will pay off in the long run.
5 Time Saving Tips to Selecting Your Baby’s Doctor
1. Where is the Pediatric office located? Is the office close to home, transportation, and is parking available? Remember you will be traveling with your baby, your diaper bag, and siblings, if any, to the appointment. You may also be traveling in varied weather conditions so you want the office to be easily accessible to you. If both parents are unable to make the appointment, bring someone to help with you.
2. Is the Pediatrician in your medical insurance network? You may receive a bill for the services if they are not a participating provider. You can contact your medical insurance provider for their panel of Pediatricians.
3. Are the office hours flexible and will they work for you? Will the hours work for you when you return to work or will someone else be available to take your baby to his or her appointments?
4. How does the office handle after hour questions, illness, and emergencies? Does the Pediatric group have someone on call week nights and weekends for urgent phone consultations or will you have to go to the Emergency Room?
5. What is the pediatrician’s experience with caring for ex-premature babies? If your baby has a prolonged NICU course due to extreme prematurity, have a conversation with your pediatrician to ensure that they can provide you with the services your baby needs and has a network of referral specialty doctors. Inquire about which hospitals they admit their patients.
Although it is impossible to predict your baby’s every medical need, use the above tips to start the conversation as you find the right doctor for you, your baby, your family. There are really great Pediatricians who care about you and your family.