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About your baby’s pediatrician

In this color image by ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services we witness a hombirth midwife performing the first pediatric visit on a newborn baby, just born at home in Los Angeles CA

During the prenatal visits that are part of my Doula care, I like to go over baby care tips as part of the the post partum plan. After birth, most of the attention goes to baby and moms often forget to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally. One of the things that can be arranged before your baby is born, is to make sure who is going to be her pediatrician.
A Health Care provider, who (hopefully) will be part of your life for many many years and will contribute to empowering you to care and make decision for your family in the best possible way.
New parents often ask me referrals for their baby’s Pediatrician, but there are so many variables to take in consideration when making that decision, especially living in a big city like Los Angeles that I can only offer few tips and factors to keep in mind.
 
LOCATION
Make sure your Pediatrician’s office is located fairly close to you; as the first few months of your baby’s life you will be visiting that office quite a lot and no-new moms like to put their brand new baby in a car seat for long period of times. There might be times when you will have to drive baby by yourself and if your baby is crying a lot, it becomes really stressful to be sitting in Los Angeles traffic hearing the love of your life screaming his head off because he is hungry or all of a sudden, he needs a diaper change, or he has caught the stomach bug and he has been throwing up all day.
 
AVAILABILITY
Ask if your Pediatrician’s office has an off-hours number you can call in case of an urgent matter that does not require you to go to the ER.
(A good Pediatrician will also advice you to avoid taking your baby to the ER as much as possible, unless of a life-threatening circumstance.)
Hopefully, as the many questions a new parent should have starts to populate your mind, you will feel comfortable and supported enough to call whenever you need to.
OPEN-MINDNESS
Whether you will need to tackle subject such as vaccines, circumcision or ( later on) safe body language talk, try to find someone who will support your decisions by giving you the information and stats necessary to feel empowered and free to advocate for your baby. A little bit like a #birthdoula would in preparation of your birth ;)
No one knows your baby better than you.
 
INSURANCE
Finding a Pediatrician who will accept Insurance is of course an extra bonus, but if you do find one whom you really really love and doesn’t, just know that while it is
 
true the first/second year of your baby’s life will bring lots of expenses, such as the doctors visits checkups; after then, your baby will only need to go in for scheduled wellness visits once a year.
 
I would also like to add that from my personal experience as a mother of three children, I have always wanted my children’s Dr, to be a woman. Partially for the same reason a mother is surrounded by female nurses and midwives during birth – they ( usually ) have more motherly bedside manners. Also, as my daughter grows into a young woman, I am much more comfortable with her pediatrician being a woman when it comes to tackling all the age appropriate subjects regarding her changing body.
 
By the way did you know that if you are planning on having a #homebirth, your midwife will provide your baby’s first pediatric’s visit?
If you are birthing her in the hospital, you can request for your pediatrician to come see her there, immediately after birth, as long as he or she has residency.