How to Find the Best Pediatrician for Your New Baby

The birth of your first baby is an incredible experience, a once-in-a-lifetime moment you will carry with you forever. A ton of planning goes into that day, and thankfully all the organization and cautious strategy paid off in a successful birth and a happy, healthy bundle of joy. But now you have to pick out the pediatrician that will care for the love of your life for many years to come. Your delivery doctor is quite often specialized, and won't continue as your child's GP. But don't worry if you haven't yet found your pediatrician! With a bit of research and a solid approach your baby will soon be in very good hands. Here are a few steps you can take to find the best pediatrician for your baby.

The easiest starting point is to seek out personal recommendations. Do you have local friends or family that also have young children? If so, take a poll to find out who they use. Obviously you should only go to folks whose opinions you respect. But if they have used a pediatrician for several months and can provide a glowing review you should add that practice to your short list. Make sure you ask for specific reasons why they like that doctor, so you can get a good sense of how they made their decision.

Next, hop online and look for more recommendations you can use to add a few more options. Yelp is a great resource for jobs like this. You can search by area, and people these days have no qualms about sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. Look for a pediatric practice with a number of reviews. No one will have all positive reviews, and if a practice does you might wonder if they are stacking the deck in their favor. But if the majority are positive, and if you notice the same pediatricians within that practice always receive praise you should definitely add those to your list.

You should also check in with the search engine on your insurance provider's website. Almost every insurance policy requires you to stay within a certain network if you want maximum benefit. So cross-reference the short list of recommendations you've received against the doctors that are covered by your insurance. Hopefully there is some overlap. But also look for the doctors that your insurance company offers up. If they have a long track record they might be worth looking into.

Now it's time to review the qualifications of the pediatricians on your short list. Check into their past experience, their education and whether they have received any additional training, specialization or accolades. If a pediatrician has been published, look into that work as well. Anything that sets them apart from the others should be noted, and could make them a stronger candidate.

At this point you should have whittled your list down to three to five finalists. Make appointments to see each one in person. You might be charged for each visit, so ask the secretaries if they offer any open houses that allow potential patients to come in, explore the facilities and meet the doctors. Any practice that wants to be included in a premier patient line should have this offering. Otherwise, head in with your baby for a basic check-up. See how you feel about the office, the staff and the overall demeanor of the doctor. Your final decision may come down to a gut feeling. But comfort level is probably the most important factor of all.