Choosing Your Baby's Health Care Provider
It is helpful to choose your baby's health care provider before your baby is born. When choosing a health care provider for your baby, ask for referrals from family, friends, your obstetrician or your midwife. Call California Pacific's Physician Referral Service (1-800-CALL-MDS or 1-800-225-5637) for recommendations. Once you have a few names, set up informational interviews to discuss questions such as:
- With which hospital is the health care provider affiliated? If he or she has hospital privileges where you plan to deliver, does he or she prefer to examine the baby in the hospital or at the office?
- How much time does the health care provider spend with each patient and how often does he or she see the baby?
- How many health care providers cover the practice?
- Is a physician/pediatric nurse practitioner available by telephone 24-hours-a-day if needed?
- Can appointments be made on short notice if needed?
- How are phone calls handled? Is there a special telephone hour? Is there an advice nurse/staff person available to answer basic questions?
- Are special provisions made for sick children (such as a separate waiting room or special hours)?
- If you are planning to breastfeed your baby, how long do mothers in the practice typically continue to breastfeed?
- Does the physician work with or provide referrals to lactation specialists?
- Discuss your philosophy regarding circumcision.
- Inquire about their philosophy regarding immunizations (including fees/costs).
- Discuss their ideas/support for working mothers, if applicable.
- Ask any other questions you feel would give you insight into their philosophy of care (i.e., childrearing, discipline, solid foods, etc.).
- Check office location for your convenience.
It is important to feel comfortable communicating with your health care provider as you will have frequent contact throughout your baby's childhood.