j. Choosing a health care provider for your baby

Once your baby leaves the hospital, she will need follow-up care. You may already have chosen a pediatrician. But if your baby came early, you may not have had a chance to find someone. It’s important that you find a health care provider who is a good fit for you and your baby.

If your baby has special medical needs, you may need to find a health care provider who has experience caring for children with your baby’s condition. The NICU staff, hospital social worker or case manager can help you find one. Also, some hospitals have follow-up clinics for babies who stayed in the NICU and have special medical needs. Ask the NICU staff about these clinics.

Here are questions to help you choose a health care provider for your baby:

  • Do you accept my insurance plan?
  • Do you have experience caring for children with conditions like those my baby has?
  • What are your office hours?
  • Do you practice in a group or are you on your own?
  • What happens if my baby gets sick at night or on a weekend? How do you handle emergencies?
  • What hospital(s) can you admit patients to? Take your baby’s folder with your discharge summary, any X-rays and information sheets you were given in the hospital to your first appointment with your pediatrician. The provider needs to know what happened during and after your baby’s birth.

After we went home with Wesley I had to continue to remind his doctor that he was a month behind in his development. Each visit our doctor would tell us that he wasn’t meeting his developmental milestones. It was so frustrating because a month later he would meet them. I felt like it was our duty to let all our health care team know that he was born early so he might need time to catch up.

— Lori, mom to a baby boy born at
36 weeks