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Picking Your Pediatrician

There are important decisions to make for baby before the contractions begin.

Picking Your Pediatrician

No matter how much you educate yourself on baby and childcare before your little one makes his or her debut, there are some things that just have to be left to the experts. Especially when it comes to health care. Luckily, says Dr. Deena Blanchard MD, a pediatrician at Premier Pediatrics, many doctors offer expectant parents an opportunity to meet with a prospective pediatrician and find out about the structure and the style of their practice.

“Finding a pediatrician can feel like a big decision,” she says. “This is the person who will hopefully help to guide you through your child’s growth and development, and many of your parenting ups and downs.” Here's Blanchard's tips on how to find the perfect fit for your growing family.

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When should you start looking?

The best time to start looking is at about 28-30 weeks gestation. You may want to visit more than one office, and this allows you the time to do so. It is never too late to meet with someone. If the doctor has availability, meetings are still helpful.

What will you talk about at this visit?

First and foremost you will see if you like the pediatrician and he/she is a good fit for your personality. Look to see how the office staff interacts. Are they friendly? Are the doctors nice to the staff? Is the office clean? The doctor should review the structure of the practice, what hours it is open, how many doctors there are etc. You will want to know what the policy for emergency visits are. Are they walk in or made by same day appointment? How are after hours phone calls handled? Who answers routine phone calls? Can you see the same doctor for all your well visits? Some of these things will matter more to you more than others, you will want to pick a practice that meets your needs as well.

Vaccine policies are often a topic of discussion at these visits. Most pediatric offices have a policy on whether or not they are willing to delay vaccinations. You will want to ensure that the practice policies are in line with your decisions and beliefs.

If you don't have a baby yet, and you don't know your parenting style, how can you get a sense if a practice is the right fit for you?

Like most things in life, relationships and parenting styles develop over time. As with your previous physician choices (your internist and OBGYN) you will have a “gut” feeling about whether you mesh well with the pediatrician. Many practices have more than one physician and you may find along the way that you mesh better with someone else in the practice and that is okay as well. It is ideal and wonderful to stick with one pediatric practice throughout your child’s life. That being said with moves and other life changes or choices you may need to or elect to change your physician and that is okay as well.

I loved the pediatrician I met with but he/she doesn’t see babies at the hospital I am going to deliver at.

That is no big deal. Most pediatric offices maintain hospital privileges at 1-2 hospitals and see newborns in the well baby nursery there. If the pediatrician you have chosen does not see babies at the hospital you deliver at a pediatrician will be assigned to see the baby in the hospital. After discharge you will see your pediatrician within 2-3 days of leaving the hospital. As many people deliver at hospitals that are not that close to where they live this happens all the time.

Ooops! I didn't get around to interviewing! Can I still get a pediatrician for my baby?

Of course! Most people don’t meet their pediatrician until after their baby is born. Ask your friends for recommendations or look at parenting forums. These are often helpful in choosing which pediatrician to start with. The baby should be seen within 2-3 days of hospital discharge to make sure that they are gaining weight well and to go over your questions. You can have a great relationship with your pediatrician regardless of whether you had a prenatal visit.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

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Hands-Free Pumping Bra

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Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

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Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

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Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

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There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

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Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

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Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

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Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

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Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

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Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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