How to Choose a Pediatrician for Your Newborn

For first-time parents, the months leading up to a baby’s arrival can be a stressful time. From frequent check-ups to preparing the baby’s room, parents-to-be have plenty to do before that due date arrives.

Expecting couples often do a lot of research when choosing pregnancy-related medical care, whether it’s selecting an OB/GYN or choosing a birth hospital. What’s often a little less clear, however, is what to do for a baby’s medical care after birth.

Parents-to-be know that they need to arrange care for their little one, but often don’t know where to start.

Choosing care for your baby can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t need to be. By doing a little preparation, expecting parents can cross a stressful item off the pre-birth to-do list and focus on having a safe, healthy pregnancy.

At South Shore Medical Center, we’re proud to provide care to newborns from across the region. We get a number of common questions from first-time parents about arranging medical care for their newborns.

Below, you can find answers to those questions.

When should I choose my baby’s pediatrician?

Choosing a pediatrician isn’t something that should be left until the last minute. Ideally, you should have a pediatrician selected a few weeks before your due date.

We all know that there are no guarantees with due dates — if you put off selecting a pediatrician and your baby decides to come early, you’ll be putting yourself in a stressful spot.

In order to have a pediatrician selected a few weeks before your due date, you should start doing your research earlier in your pregnancy. You want to have enough time to make a decision you’re comfortable with, rather than being forced to choose at the last minute.

If you’re unsure of where to begin looking for a pediatrician, seeking advice from neighbors, family members, your current primary care provider, or your OB/GYN can be a good place to start.

At South Shore Medical Center, you can find a list of pediatricians who are accepting new patients on our website.

Will my pediatrician come to South Shore Hospital after my baby is born?

While all South Shore Medical Center pediatricians are on-staff at South Shore Hospital, we won’t be the ones providing care for your baby immediately after birth. Instead, that care will be provided by pediatric hospitalists.

These hospitalists will take care of all of your baby’s medical needs and will be able to address any issues that may arise or any questions you may have.

Because we’re both part of South Shore Health, South Shore Hospital and South Shore Medical Center use the same electronic medical records system. This means your pediatrician will be aware of everything that took place in the Hospital when you go take your newborn to the Medical Center.

When you arrive for your first appointment with your pediatrician, he or she will be fully up to speed on your baby’s birth and on any issues that require follow-up.

After birth, when should I schedule my baby’s first appointment?

The first few days after your baby is born will be a whirlwind of activity: family and friends will come to visit, hospital staff will help make sure you’re ready to bring your baby home, and hopefully you’ll be able to get a little rest!

While there’s sure to be a lot going on, you’ll need to add one more item to your agenda: bringing your baby to the pediatrician.

Ideally, we like to see newborns one or two days after discharge from the hospital.

These “well-baby” visits allow your pediatrician to meet your baby, perform a full check-up, and address any issues that may have been raised by the pediatric hospitalists.

However, this first appointment isn’t all about your baby! It’s also a great time for you to ask your pediatrician any questions you may have.

Because the date of your well-baby visit will depend on when you deliver your baby, you don’t need to worry about trying to schedule this first visit in advance. Instead, simply call South Shore Medical Center shortly after birth and we’ll get your first appointment on the books.   


Dr. Mairead Wilson is a pediatrician at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell. She is currently accepting new patients.