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Choosing a Doctor for Your Newborn

Henry Ford doctor offers advice on picking the right health care expert for your baby

If you are pregnant, or know someone who is, you know how many decisions are involved in having a baby. Will you be breast- or bottle-feeding? Using cloth or disposable diapers? The list goes on. Now add one more item: choosing the doctor who will take care of your baby's health needs.

"Newborns have a lot of special needs and concerns, which family physicians and pediatricians are able to address from day one," says Jennifer M. Burgess, D.O. "These include questions about feeding, colic, family adjustments, rashes and immunizations." Dr. Burgess is a Henry Ford Health System physician with an office in the Henry Ford Medical Center in Commerce Township.

Jennifer M. Burgess, D.O. at Henry Ford Medical Center in Commerce Township

"New parents, whether it is their first baby or their sixth, always have concerns. Some things are normal 'new baby' issues, others are not," Dr. Burgess says. "It is important for parents to feel like they can address all concerns with their trusted family physician."

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends building a partnership between your family and the team who takes care of your child's health and well-being.

"I strive to form lasting relationships with my patients and their families through compassion, respect and teamwork," Dr. Burgess says. "I believe that each patient is an individual and should be treated as such. It is part of what I love about my job."

Pediatricians are specifically trained to treat the health needs of children from birth to age 21. However, a pediatrician is the not the only health care provider trained to see babies, children and adolescents. A family medicine physician may also provide care to your child. Parents who choose a family medicine doctor might see a pediatrician only when their child experiences a serious medical problem or complication.

Dr. Burgess says a family medicine physician may be a good choice for your health needs.

"A family physician is also able to see the mother, father, grandmother and other family members," Dr. Burgess says. "This helps build stronger relationships and helps with understanding the family dynamics, which in turn affects the baby. In addition, when the parents bring the baby in, we are able to delve into how they are truly coping with the new addition. I believe this makes the parent more comfortable to address any concerns because I am also his or her physician. I can address these problems and do something to help them."

When selecting a doctor to care for your baby and yourself, Dr. Burgess recommends scheduling an interview with several health care providers to see which doctor best suits your needs.

"Parents need to ask all the questions they feel they need answered. These questions should be answered to their satisfaction, whether they agree with the answer or not," Dr. Burgess says. "My colleague, Dr. Christine Ryan, and I are enthusiastic and open to 'mommy visits' prior to the birth of a child. Come in, meet us and see if we are the right fit!"

To make an appointment with Dr. Burgess or Dr. Ryan at Henry Ford Medical Center-Commerce, log onto henryford.com or call 248-360-8100.

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