Discovering I was pregnant with my first child in May of 2020 (yes—The Year That Shall Not Be Named) started an experience that was nothing short of a wild ride. As doctor appointments became a regular part of my mama-to-be routine, I remember feeling a bit caught off guard when my OB-GYN advised that I start my pediatrician search heading into the third trimester. I knew that choosing a pediatrician was one of the most important parenting decisions I’d have to make but I instantly felt like I let the ball drop on doing a thorough search. In case you may be feeling the same mild anxiety I had when it came to choosing a doctor for your kiddos, I am here to tell you to take a deep breath (or two!) and try not to worry—it can be a lot easier than it seems!
Whether you’re expecting a bundle of joy and are unsure of where to start, or if your family is moving to a new home and you need to find new doctors for your kiddos, the GoBe team is here to share some tips that you may find helpful in your pediatrician search!
Searching for a new doctor in general can seem like a daunting task but it’s important to remember that you’re ultimately looking for a doctor who can effectively meet your family and children’s medical needs. Here are just a few ways to start focusing your search:
Check in with your network of family, friends, and coworkers and try to collect a few names of doctors within your area. If you are moving to a brand new location that’s away from friends and family, ask your current pediatrician if they can make a referral, take a look at online reviews for local doctors, or use the American Academy of Pediatrics’ referral site. It also never hurts to check with hospitals that your list of candidates are affiliated with to bolster your research. Last but not least, don’t forget to check out and add any local Facebook and social media groups to your search! There is a wealth of knowledge out there and you’ll get access to local recommendations and reviews of the pediatrician groups near you.
Check with your insurance.
Call your insurance company and ask about any doctors that may be on your list. For families that are moving, this is a great way to double check and make sure that a new doctor or practice will accept your family’s health insurance—or any change in insurance providers that may occur as a result of the move.
Reach out directly!
After finding a well-reviewed and recommended practice local to us, I gave their office a call and had an incredible conversation with the office manager. This informal way of “interviewing” allowed me to gain an overview of their policies, protocols, and understand what to do once my baby was born. It actually helped provide a huge relief to get this information ahead of time because in most cases, a check up with a pediatrician usually takes place within a couple days after delivery. A pediatrician on duty at the hospital may conduct a checkup with your newborn before you are discharged or your pediatrician may come to the hospital where you deliver. It’s good to confirm with the practice/doctor whom you are hoping to use as your kiddo’s primary source on what their usual process is for newborn checks and onboarding infant patients. And let’s be honest—when you are focused on recovering and getting all those adorable snuggles in with your newborn, scheduling a doctor’s appointment is the last thing you want to think about!
If your family is moving, reaching out directly to a potential new practice or doctor and asking the questions on your list is a great way to gauge if they are a good fit for your family’s needs. Moreover, getting an idea of any new patient onboarding that needs to happen when you reach your new location could help make things easier as you and your family get settled in the new home.
Things to consider (or ask about!)
You have your short list of potential candidates for a new pediatrician—so give yourself a pat on the back! Now comes the part of the process where you look at your “must haves” and “nice to have” elements to narrow down your list and ultimately, select your new pediatrician. To help out, we compiled the following list for you to consider in your search:
All of the administrative details
Office hours, emergency hours (both evening and weekend availability), how inquiries are handled, telehealth protocols, call-in/walk-in policies, patient portals, billing, and all the other fun information nuggets that get jotted down in your parent notebook!
Pro tip: Don’t underestimate the convenience factor when it comes to an office location. Newborns and younger infants will see their pediatrician every 2 to 3 months during their first year so picking an office location close to home, work, or daycare could be a huge time saver.
Non-office hour appointments or emergency appointments
When it comes to kiddos, sicknesses and injuries can happen at any time and on any day of the week. Sometimes a doctor or practice may recommend patients to pediatric urgent care clinics or they will have a staff member or 24/7 hotline available to cover any emergencies that may occur. It’s so helpful to have this information on hand in case of an emergency—and for families who are moving, this is a great way to know where and what urgent care facilities (and how many) will be near your new home.
Pro tip: Save the 2/47 hotline to your phone favorites so you can easily find it when you need it!
In-office “appointment etiquette”
Feel free to ask about how many people can accompany your kiddo on an appointment or if there are separate well-baby and sick-baby waiting areas. These may seem like minor details but they go a long way in helping you plan accordingly for when your little one has to visit the doctor—especially when it happens at a moment’s notice.
Focus on what’s important for you and your kids
Every family and child will have unique medical needs. Lean into that and don’t be afraid to ask about anything that is important to you and your family. GoBe Kids celebrates families and parenting styles from all walks of life and when finding a new source of medical care for your kiddos, it’s important to consider the values most important to you. If you practice more holistic medicine or you plan to perform a home delivery instead of going to the hospital, these are all great questions to ask potential pediatrician groups and doctors during your search.
Most pediatricians would welcome a visit so that you can get to know them better and ask any questions you may have. As your little one grows and develops, they will have a special bond with their pediatrician—and ultimately, so will you. Embrace and leverage the first few conversations with your child’s pediatrician as they present a fantastic opportunity to be honest about what matters to you and your family.
Nothing is permanent
Last but not least, don’t feel like you are set in stone with whomever you select as your children’s pediatrician. If you find yourself feeling unhappy with how things are progressing with your child’s doctor, don’t be afraid to openly discuss your concerns directly with them. However, if things do not seem to be heading towards a resolution, know that you can always find a new pediatrician and it is completely ok if things need to change.
On behalf of the GoBe Team, I hope you found these tips helpful for your own pediatrician search. As a first-time parent, I understand how finding a great doctor for your children can feel like a heavy task since we all want the best for our kiddos. However, the best thing for your little ones is that they have parents who are ready to advocate for them and that is exactly what you are doing. Your children are thriving mini humans who are enjoying all that life has to offer because of you—so keep up the great work! You’re doing a fabulous job.
- Alissa, from the GoBe Team