Many parents aren’t aware of this, but pretty much all pediatricians will let you set up a consultation with them to meet them, ask questions, and decide if you would like to hire them. So here are six questions you should ask a potential pediatrician for your child.

  1. Do you visit my newborn while we’re still in the hospital?

Many pediatricians do rounds in the hospital, which saves you time and helps establish your relationship with them. See if your chosen pediatrician can check on your baby after birth while you are still in the hospital, rather than being seen by a stranger.

  • Do you provide any after-hours or emergency care?

Find out what assistance your pediatrician can provide if your child has a minor medical issue when the office is closed. Can they put in a couple stitches to save you a trip to the emergency room? Can they provide a script for an ear infection over the phone? Do they offer a 24-hour nurse hotline?

  • Do you have separate sick and well waiting rooms?

What could be worse than taking your baby in for a well-child checkup and having to sit next to someone with whooping cough? Find out what kind of setup the pediatrician’s office has for children who are ill.

  • What is your opinion on _______?

There are a lot of hot-button topics in the parenting world right now. Some of these might include breastfeeding, pumping for work, discipline, vaccinations, circumcision, and car seat safety. These are personal choices families must make, and your pediatrician should be a good fit for your parenting philosophy. You can ask open-ended questions about their views or education in certain areas that are important to you, to help gauge whether they will be helpful and supportive of your parenting style.

  • What will happen at our appointments?

    Be prepared and avoid any surprises by asking for an idea of what to expect at appointments, whether well or sick. You can find out how long to expect each appointment to last, what shots are offered and when, and what tests may be run if your child is ill.

6. Can we meet the other doctors in your practice?

Many well-liked pediatrician offices are group practices. If your pediatrician is ill, on vacation, or otherwise out of the office, you may want to familiarize yourself with others who may provide care in their stead. You should meet and ask about the education and personality of the other doctors in the office.

Picking a pediatrician is an important decision, but don’t worry – you are in charge, and you will find the right one when the time is right. Look for reviews online to help you determine which offices to set up consultations with, and don’t forget to ask friends and relatives where they go – and why they like them.