Choosing Your Baby's Care Provider
Choosing a primary care provider for your baby is a very important decision. This person will oversee your child’s health for many years to come. Your relationship with this person is just as important as is his or her relationship with your baby.
It is best to choose a care provider 6 weeks before your baby is due. Beginning when your baby is born, this provider will coordinate well-baby visits, immunizations and general medical care. This person may be a pediatrician, family practice physician or nurse practitioner.
Pediatricians are doctors who have special training in providing general medical care to babies and children under the age of 18.
Family practice physicians are doctors who provide general medical care to family members of all ages, infants through adults. Some also provide obstetrical care, covering all stages of pregnancy, labor and delivery.
Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training. Working under the direction of doctors, they provide health assessments and coordinate general medical care.
You may interview providers before selecting one. Interviews can help you decide which provider best matches your personality and respects your philosophy on parenting and family issues. Most providers give introductory interviews free of charge.
For a list of Providence providers in your area, call NursePlus at: (360) 493-4111.
Here are some sample questions you may ask:
- What are your office hours?
- How much do you charge for office visits? Do you accept my health insurance?
- How do you handle after-hours office coverage (e.g., answering service, on-call)?
- Who takes your calls when you are away?
- Are you board-certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or are you board-eligible? (While not necessarily a reflection of whether someone is a good doctor, this does tell you if that person has special training in this field.)
- With what hospitals are you affiliated?
- Will you first see my baby while we are still in the hospital or at our well-baby office visit?
- How do you feel about bottle-feeding versus breastfeeding?
- Do you recommend that babies by fed on demand or fed on a schedule?
- What is your policy on prescribing medications?
When your baby is born, please tell the maternity nurse the name of the care provider who will check your baby’s health while you are in the hospital. The nurse will notify that person when your baby is born.