11 Must-Ask Questions for Your Prospective Pediatrician

Got a list of pediatricians to interview, but not sure what to ask them? Looking for questions that will help you select the perfect pediatrician for your baby?

Choosing a pediatrician can be nerve-wracking. You want the absolute best for your baby and your family. But, how do you know which one is the right one?  Should you go with a family doctor or a certified pediatrician? What should you ask in the interview to help you decide?

In this post, we’ll give you some tips for narrowing down doctors to interview,  11 questions to ask during the interview, and questions to ask yourself afterwards to help you find the perfect pediatrician for your baby.

How to Narrow Down Pediatricians to Interview 

Not sure where to even begin to find pediatricians to interview? Or maybe, you’ve got a huge, long list of potential baby doctors. Either way, here are some great tips to help you find and narrow down prospective pediatricians to interview:

  • Location. location, location: How far are you willing to drive for well-baby checks? You’re probably not going to want to drive too far if you’re baby is sick.
  • Check your health insurance: Always check to make sure they accept your  insurance before scheduling an interview.
  • Ask if they’re accepting new patients: Be sure to call and make sure the doctor you are wanting to interview is accepting new patients. Websites and health insurance aren’t always up-to-date, so it’s best to call and ask the practice directly.
  • Look at their office hours: Do they offer early, late, or weekend appointments?  Are their office hours a deal-breaker for you? We have several hospitals and urgent cares with after hours, so this wasn’t really a huge deal for us.
  • Check out their website: Take the time to scroll through their website (if they have one) and check out what kind of services they offer and read the staff bios. Does this seem like a place you’d be comfortable with taking your baby to?
  • Will they meet with you in person?: This one was huge for me. Only ONE doctor out of 5 that I was looking at, was willing to meet with my husband and I in person. Some I couldn’t even get a phone interview with. This doctor’s willingness to take the time to sit down and meet with us and address our questions and concerns scored him straight to the top of our list.

11 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Pediatrician

Now that you’ve narrowed down some potential pediatricians, it’s time to interview them and see if they’re the right fit for your family. Listed below are 11 questions you should ask during the interviews to help you select the perfect pediatrician for your baby.  

1. Can you tell me about your background?

This is a great, easy question to get the ball rolling. Find out how long they’ve been practicing for, if their board certified, and if they’re a MD, DO, or Nurse Practitioner. You might also want to find out if they have any children themselves and what led them to their career choice.

2. Do you have any specialities?

A simple follow-up question is to find out if the doctor has any specialities or sub-specialties, such as endocrinology, dermatology, gastroenterology, emergency medicine, or developmental and behavioral. The doctor we ended up choosing happened to have a background in chiropractic care.

3. What is your stance on breastfeeding, vaccines, antibotics, co-sleeping, circumcision, etc.?

All the hot, debatable topics really. You’re going to want to know if the doctor’s views line up with yours, or at least, they are fully accepting of them. If you plan to keep your baby intact (not circumcise) you’ll want to make sure the doctor is knowledgeable with proper intact care

4. Are you affiliated with a hospital?

If they are affiliated with a hospital, check to see if your insurance covers care there. Ask how this affiliation is beneficial for their patients.

5. What kind of tests are run in-house?

Be sure to find out which tests can be done at their office at which ones cannot. Do they do in-house blood work and cultures? Will you have to go somewhere else for x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.?Ask where they typically send people for out-of-office tests and make sure your insurance is covered there. You might also want to ask how long it typically takes to get results back and who typically calls with the results (them, another doc, a nurse?).

6. Will my baby be able to be seen the day-of if she’s sick?

Check to make sure your baby will be able to get in the same day if she’s sick. Ask how many appointments are blocked off for sick visits. This was a key element when choosing our baby’s doctor. 50% of the appointments were blocked off for sick visits, and we were guaranteed to be seen the day-of.

7. Do you offer after-hours phone calls?

Find out how emergency phone calls are handled. Do you call the office directly and it will transfer you to an after-hours line? Is there an after-hours number to call? Will you be speaking to the doctor or a nurse? If you have to leave a message, how long will it take to hear back?

8. Will you be our baby’s doctor or will she primarily be seen by another doctor in the practice?

If you’re interviewing a doctor in a group practice, make sure that the doctor you are interviewing will primarily be the one your baby sees. Check to see if you’re able to schedule appointments with the same doctor each visit. Ask who your baby will see for sick visits as well. I’m not a huge fan of large group practices, so the fact that our family practice only had 3 doctors in it (all of whom we love) was another key factor in selecting a doctor for our baby.

9. Will your initial checkup be at the hospital after baby is born or at the first in-office visit?

If the doctor is affiliated with the hospital you’re giving birth at, then there’s a good chance your doctor might visit you in the hospital and do your baby’s first exam while you’re there. If this isn’t the case, ask your prospective pediatrician when they typically schedule baby’s first visit for. Will it be 3-5 days after birth? 2 weeks?

10. Do you respond to non-emergent questions by email and by phone? 

Find out how the office handles non-emergent questions. Can you email your baby’s doctor? Can you call in? Will you be talking to a nurse, or can you speak with the doc directly?  If you have to leave a message, how long does it typically take to hear back?

11. What can I expect during routine well-baby checks?

Find out what all is covered during well-baby checkups. Ask questions like “what will you be looking for when performing a physical exam on my baby? and “what topics will be discussed during these visits (growth, milestones, cognitive development, immunizations, etc.)?”. You might also ask how long a typical appointment lasts for and what the waiting times are typically like.

After You Leave the Office, Ask Yourself: 

After the interview, you might want to ask yourself some other key-factor questions:

  • Was everything clean? Were the waiting room(s), exam rooms, bathrooms, etc. presentable?
  • Was parking readily available?
  • Was there a separate waiting room for sick patients?
  • How long did you have to wait for?  If you did have to wait a long time, what was the reasoning? Was the doctor behind because she had a lot of sick patients she squeezed in that day? For me, that’s totally acceptable!
  • Were the exam rooms and waiting room kid-friendly? Were there any books or toys for the kids to play with while they wait?
  • Was the doctor up-to-date with the latest medical advice? Are they recommending the latest advice, like encouraging breastfeeding and delaying solids until 6 months of age?
  • Did you like how the doctor communicated with you? Did she seem rushed or short with answering your questions? Did she seem annoyed with any of your questions? Could you understand what she was saying?
  • Did you vibe with the doctor?  Sometimes you just know when you’ve found the right doc!
  • Was the rest of the staff friendly? Were the receptionists and nurses helpful and kind? 

Time to Choose 

Choosing a pediatrician can be challenging, but hopefully these questions will help you narrow down your choices. If you’ve got some interviews lined up, but not sure what to ask, then use these 11 interview questions to help you determine which doc is the best fit for your family.

1. Can you tell me about your background?

2. Do you have any specialities?

3. What is your stance on breastfeeding, vaccines, antibotics, co-sleeping, circumcision, etc.?

4. Are you affiliated with a hospital?

5. What kind of tests are run in-house? Which ones have to be ran elsewhere? 

6. Will my baby be able to be seen the day-of if she’s sick?

7. Do you offer after-hours phone calls?

8. Will you be our baby’s doctor or will she primarily be seen by another doctor in the practice?

9. Will your initial checkup be at the hospital after baby is born or at the first in-office visit?

10. Do you respond to non-emergent questions by email and by phone? 

11. What can I expect during routine well-baby checks?

I wish you the best of luck in your search, and I hope you’re able to find the perfect pediatrician for your baby and your family!

Did You Find This Post Helpful? 

Did these questions help you select the perfect pediatrician? Which questions did you find most helpful? Share your experience with us in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other moms-to-be.

SUSCRIBE FOR FREE PRINTABLES FOR MOM & BABY
Sign up for the Tales of a Messy Mom monthly newsletter and gain access to my printables library, full of Birth Affirmations, a Breast Milk Storage Chart, my Cloth Diaper Checklist, and other amazing FREE resources for new and expecting mamas.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *