Pediatric care you can trust
Boston Children’s Primary Care Alliance is a network of high-quality providers with over 33 practices across Massachusetts.
Offering multi-specialty teams, these pediatric offices provide comprehensive care that tailors to your child as they grow. Services range from well visits and physicals to more complex care for newborns, children, and adolescents.
Find a pediatrician
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Many Alliance practices offer extended hours, urgent care appointments in the evenings or on the weekends, and walk-in clinics. Access care for your child when you need it most.Start here
Frequently asked questions
You should begin searching for a pediatrician while still pregnant. Try to meet and establish a relationship with your pediatrician before your child is born. New parents tend to choose their pediatricians during the second trimester of pregnancy, or three to five months before the due date. This gives parents time to make an informed decision without feeling rushed.
If you have relocated, your family will also need a new pediatrician. Make finding a new pediatrician a priority so you’re prepared for any unforeseen injuries or illnesses. Choosing a doctor from an unfamiliar area can be challenging, so you may need to meet more than one to find the right fit.
Is the office location convenient?
- Kids can require multiple checkups, especially early in life. You’ll want to find a pediatrician whose office is close to your home, work, or your child’s daycare. If you rely on public transportation, factor that in during your search.
What are the hours of operation?
- For some families, evening or weekend availability is necessary. Some practices have a pediatrician on-call 24 hours a day, on holidays, and for urgent appointments. Look for practices that offer extended hours to accommodate your schedule.
Will the doctor come to do the first checkup at the hospital?
- Oftentimes, your pediatrician will come to the hospital and do your newborn’s first checkup. The pediatrician comes soon after delivery to complete the checkup, but only if they have an affiliation with the hospital first. If that is important to you, ask whether or not the doctor does these hospital visits. If this is not important to you, ensure that your pediatrician will see you within 5 days after delivery.
What is the office culture and communication style?
- Do the physician and their staff seem friendly, patient, and compassionate? Does the physician seem genuinely interested in your child and their health? Do they take and return phone calls in a timely fashion? Is a nurse or coordinator available by phone or email to answer questions? The staff should communicate and explain health concerns in a way that you can understand and you shouldn’t feel rushed during appointments.
What insurance does the practice take?
- Make sure you know the office policy for insurance, co-pays, and any other fees you may be responsible for covering.
How do you handle urgent health concerns?
- How will the physician react if your child has an acute illness like a cold, sore throat, or ear infection? Are appointments available on short notice or will you need to visit urgent care?
How do you work with other providers?
- Children with rare and complex conditions can require coordinated care from a clinical support team and specialists. Ask your pediatrician if they feel like an integrated part of the care team should your child be diagnosed with a chronic condition.
Do you feel like they are the right fit for your family?
- Listen to your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable about your experience, look elsewhere. No one knows what is best for your family better than you.
Have your car seat inspected or installed
- Many states have laws requiring newborns to have a properly fitted car seat, including a five-point-harness seat for infants and a specially fitted seat for babies under 5 pounds.
Learn the swaddle (and other baby-care tips)
- Swaddling your baby when they sleep can prevent flailing arms and legs, which triggers the startle reflex and wakes them. Ask your labor and delivery nurse how to swaddle and for other tips and tricks on newborn care, including bathing your baby, cutting their nails, and caring for the umbilical cord.
If you breastfeed, meet with a lactation consultant
- Even if you’ve breastfed before or it’s going well in the hospital, it’s a good idea to meet with a lactation consultant (known as an IBCLC) before you are discharged. They can ensure your baby is latching correctly, set you up with a breast pump (many are covered by insurance), and answer any questions.
Stock up on the freebies
- The hospital will most likely provide samples of items such as baby formula, diapers, lanolin cream, as well as a bulb nose syringe, peri bottle, pads, and mesh underwear. Don’t be shy about asking for a few extra. You’ll find these items to be invaluable once you’re home.
Call your insurance company
- Avoid surprise charges by contacting your insurance company as soon as you can to add your newest family member to your plan. If you don’t have medical insurance, speak with your hospital’s social worker about your options.
Ask for help and boundaries
- Whether it’s scheduling meal deliveries, cleaning services, or visits from friends and family, it’s a great idea to have support ready to help. When you’re ready for it.
Speak with your pediatrician
- Infants can see their pediatrician multiple times within their first few months for weight checks and other vitals. If you’re able to schedule a few of these appointments before leaving the hospital, it’s one less thing to do once your home. If you haven’t found a pediatrician, the Boston Children’s Primary Care Alliance is a great place to start.
Am I feeding my baby correctly?
- The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization encourage breastfeeding, as it provides optimal nutrition for infants. And both recommend exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no solid foods or formula) for a baby’s first six months. However, that’s not always an option for everyone.
“What’s most important is that your baby is growing and that feeding is a pleasant experience for everyone involved,” says Dr. Edith Kaselis. “Whether that means breastmilk, formula, or a combination of the two.” For parents who want to breastfeed but have questions, many pediatric offices offer lactation services. At Briarpatch’s Newborn & Lactation Support service, Sarah Ray’s job is to educate and support parents in achieving their feeding goals. “Breastfeeding is a learned skill that can come easily to some but require extra support for others.”
Bottom line: Watch for your baby to be gaining weight and producing six or more wet diapers a day.
When will/should my baby sleep through the night?
- “Babies don’t have regular sleep cycles until about 6 months,” Dr. Suppan adds. However, she does suggest introducing a sleep routine around 3 months. This could be dimming the lights and practicing calming activities (reading aloud, singing, etc.) for 10 to 20 minutes, then putting your child to bed in their crib.
Bottom line: Every child is a different sleeper, even those in the same family whose parents try the same techniques. Your baby’s sleep depends on their age, weight, and overall health. The most important thing is to practice safe sleep, which means placing your baby on their back in an empty crib.
Is my baby meeting milestones?
- Your baby will grow and develop incredibly fast during the first year. By 4 months, your baby will likely roll over and at 6 months, they may begin to sit with little help. Your baby may begin to take a few steps alone at 1 year, or earlier, and could start walking alone at 18 months.
Bottom line: No two babies are alike; yours will develop at their own pace. Early Intervention is an excellent resource if you or your pediatrician have any concerns.
Am I doing this right?
- “Despite what your social media and social circles may say, properly caring for your baby boils down to pretty basic concepts: feed them, change them, play with them, cuddle them, and love them,” Dr. Kaselis says. “It’s these everyday things that teach your baby what to expect about having their basic needs met — by caregivers, relationships, and the outside world.”
What about me?
- Babies typically get half a dozen check-ins with their doctor in the first few months; new moms don’t. But taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your baby.
“It’s so important for mothers to receive adequate care and support,” says Dr. Richard Bloom. “You’ve delivered a baby; that alone takes recovery time. Plus you are adjusting to a life that is completely different than it was just months ago. Don’t underestimate what this means for your body and mind.” Dr. Bloom urges new moms — and all new caretakers — to speak openly with their doctor or other health professionals about how they are feeling and any concerns they may have about their own well-being.
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