The best time to look for a pediatrician is while you're still pregnant. "Between 28 and 34 weeks is really the best time to get the process going," says O'Brien. If you wait much longer, you'll be too big and too tired to visit office after office. It can take time to find the right doctor, so start your search early.
First, do a preliminary check. Ask around for doctor suggestions; friends, coworkers and neighbors can make the best references. "Put a list together of maybe 3-6 people," says O'Brien.
Once you've eliminated a few choices, meet with the prospective doctors in person. "Some of them will schedule appointments with you - ask whether or not they charge - and some do monthly meet and greets," says O'Brien.
While you're there, make sure to ask a few key questions. You want to ensure you and the doctor click, so be sure your views are similar on key issues like breast feeding, vaccines and circumcision. A doctor that disagrees with you on key issues - or is unwilling to compromise - may not be the best choice.
Also, ask about the doctor's hours and take a look at where they're located. Will you be able to bring your child in on Saturday or in the evenings? How far is the office from your home? These are important things to look into. No one wants to drive 45 minutes with a sick child in the back seat.
For more information on finding a pediatrician, visit www.AmericanBaby.com. Or, for a list of pediatricians in your area, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics' website - www.AAP.org.
By Erin Petrun