When you are expecting a baby the to-do list can seem like it's a mile long but one of the most important items to cross off before baby comes along is finding a pediatrician you trust.

For this Baby 101, we talk to a pediatrician about what parents need to ask as they determine what doctor is the best fit for their family.

Finding a pediatrician is a must for new parents but finding the right one for your family can be just as important.

Dr. Alaina Brown is among the 15 practitioners at Pediatric Associates in Charlottesville. "You spend a lot of time with your pediatrician in the first couple of years, and especially in the first couple of months, so having someone you feel familiar and comfortable with and you get along with is really important," she stated.

When deciding on a doctor there are many factors to consider, from how comfortable you are asking questions to simply how well your personalities click. She says that, while shopping around for a doctor may seem like an uncomfortable venture, for many new parents it's a welcome practice.

"Sometimes I think parents are afraid like we would be offended, but just like buying a house, you don't always buy the first house that you see. I always encourage parents to shop around a little bit. It's totally fine, and like I said, you need to find the style that fits best with you. Certainly when you click with the first one that's fine, but it's great to know what else is out there." Brown said.

We asked Dr. Brown what questions new parents should ask perspective pediatricians. She says there are many questions to ask:

  • How many doctors are at the office?
  • Is it a solo practice or are there multiple practitioners?
  • What are the office hours?
  • Is the practice open at night and on weekends?
  • Are there any extended hours only for urgent care?
  • Who answers the phone nights and weekends when parents have questions?
  • If a hospital visit is necessary, what hospital does the doctor refer to?

When it comes to your new baby's wellbeing, the choice you make and your comfort level can make a big difference. "If you feel like they're not supporting your choices, then you'll be less inclined to go in. You'll be less inclined to talk openly about things that need to be discussed, so that relationship that you have is the most important thing," Dr. Brown stated.

Dr. Brown says her best advice is to start with friends, family and your OB to get recommendations, but to also ask them why they like that doctor. For example, if they like them because they are efficient and quick - and you prefer someone who spends a little more time chatting during checkups - that recommendation won't necessarily work for you.