What to expect at doctor appointments

Bringing your newborn baby to the doctor for the first time can be scary. Some parents wonder what to expect, others may fear that the “mean” doctors will make their babies cry with shots whereas some are excited to see how much their child has grown.

We, at Let’s Talk Kids, believe that information is power. Thus, we have created this “cheat sheet” for parents on what to expect for doctor’s visits.

  • Time.  Most appointments are relatively quick and take less than 30 minutes. Some appointments may take longer if children need to have blood tests.  You can call the office ahead of time to ask.

  • Weighed and measured. Little ones most likely will get weighed and measured at every doctor’s appointment. Please note that it is helpful to bring extra diapers since babies usually get weighed nude.
  • Temperature. Oftentimes, nurses will take the temperature of your child. Most are now taking the temperature in the ear or across the forehead.
  • Shots. You can call your doctor’s office beforehand to see if your child needs a shot during the visit. You can also give your child Tylenol before the appointment to help minimize the pain associated with getting a shot.
  • Development questions. Please note that your doctor will ask how your child is developing. He or she might ask questions like, “Is your child eating, walking or talking properly?” These questions will be geared towards your child’s age and the appropriate skill levels for his age. Please note that it is good to be honest with your doctor as there are special services that can aid a child in developing properly. Catching any problem early is more likely to result finding a workable solution and getting your child appropriately caught up. For instance, a child who is not crawling can meet with a specialist to help strengthen his core so he can start crawling.
  • Car seats. New government regulations help ensure children will be safe while riding in vehicles. Your doctor may ask if your car seat is expired, has been in a car accident and/or if it remains current. As you may know, car seats should be replaced every 6 years. Your doctor might also discuss proper installment of your car seat.
  • Living conditions. A doctor may ask about your home life and if you have pets, if anyone smokes or if your child attends daycare. These questions are being asked to help your doctor understand about your child’s health and if she has allergies.  Make sure to answer truthfully to best prepare your child for a healthy upbringing.
  • Examination. When your doctor is done asking you questions about your child, she or he will examine your child. The doctor will look into your child’s ears, nose, throat and at her eyes. She will check your baby’s neck, chest, back and stomach. She will examine the diaper area for rashes or infections. Doctors will also check a child’s legs and feet. Basically, doctors are checking to make sure your baby is healthy.
  • Ask questions. If you have any concerns or questions, a doctor’s appointment is the perfect time to ask. Make sure you feel confident in caring for your child’s health. There is no time like the present to ask a simple question or two.
  • Finishing up. Your doctor will finish the appointment by asking any necessary follow-up questions, by providing advice or giving you a report from what was found. Your doctor will advise you on when your child should come back for his next appointment. If necessary, a doctor will provide you with any prescriptions that you may need filled and may give you a handout of the day’s progress.

Remember that the going to the doctor doesn’t have to be scary. Arm yourself with questions you may have, bring your child and consider packing items to entertain your baby during the appointment.  Knowledge, love, doctor visits and attentiveness are all in the recipe for good child health!

© Let’s Talk Kids, 2014

 

 

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