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10 Ways to Get More out of Visits to your Pediatrician

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When you have a baby, the doctor’s office is practically a second home. Whether you head in just for the recommended exams or you’re a cautious mama who likes to have every bump and bruise checked out, your pediatrician is a good source of info and support during your child’s development. Here’s how to get to most out of those visits.

1. Write Down Your Concerns

a mom at the pediatricians with her baby

Make sure you jot down the issues you want to discuss with your child’s doctor. It can be easy to forget things when you make it to the exam room and start talking about other concerns. Writing them down ensures you’ll remember to bring them up and get some answers.

2. Be Specific

a mom checking her phone while holding her baby

The more specific you are, the easier it is for your pediatrician to diagnose your child. Here, again, notes are helpful. Be sure to note any patterns in your child’s symptoms, the frequency, and the duration of the illness.

3. Cite Your Sources

a mom checking her laptop while holding her baby

If you’ve been doing a lot of research about your child’s health concern on the Internet, print out what you’ve been reading to show your doctor. There can be a lot of confusing or misinformation out there, and your doctor can quickly confirm or refute your web sources.

4. Read Up on Baby Development

a baby developing over time

At each well-child visit, your doctor will provide information on what to expect for the next stage of your baby’s life. Read through these development guidelines—or check out Mom365’s developmental milestones content—so you know what to expect your child to be doing by the next visit. This can help you raise any red flags or potential issues with your pediatrician on your next visit.

5. Ask Questions

a mom asking a pediatrician questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to clarify what she’s saying or to ask follow-up questions. Most pediatricians are good at ditching the medical jargon and explaining things clearly, but some are not. Taking a few notes—or recording the doctor’s explanation on your smartphone—will help you recall the details of the diagnosis later.

6. Bring Support

a baby getting an immunization shot

If you’re following a standard immunization schedule, your baby will receive at least one shot at just about every well-child visit until her third birthday. These pokes can be as hard (or harder!) on mama than baby. You’ll be asked to hold your child still, and in the case of a rambunctious toddler, that might be easier said than done! Bring along your partner or a friend to help you deal.

7. Ask for Advice

a pediatrician checking a baby's heartbeat

Your pediatrician has been there, done that, and treated a ton of babies and kids in her day. Even if she's not a mom herself, she talks to them all day and knows all the tricks and trends. Tap this amazing parenting resource when you're struggling with an issue, whether it's about breastfeeding, sleep schedules, feeding tricks, or behavior concerns. She's sure to have some amazing advice (or knows a good place to find the help you need).

8. Leave Siblings at Home

a young boy playing with toys at home

Try to keep the focus on your child and your concerns by leaving siblings and other distractions (here’s looking at you, smartphone) at home if you can. When brothers and sisters have to tag along, bring along something to keep them busy (and avoid having to play with germy doctor’s office toys!).

9. Set Expectations

a young toddler looking at the camera

Get in the habit of giving your little one a rundown of what the doctor will do during the visit. Some kids benefit from “playing doctor” at home and running through the scenario of an upcoming appointment. Of course, any immunizations or shots are likely to cause the greatest amount of anxiety. Whether to tell your child ahead of time depends on your little one’s personality! Whatever you do, don’t lie about it. That could make the situation even worse when it comes time to get the shots.

10. Get It in Writing

a doctor writing on a pad

Your doctor should provide some hand-outs or printed information about your child’s visit, including a copy of the immunization record. If she doesn’t offer to send you home with information about her diagnosis and treatment, be sure to ask for a write-up of what she’s said and done at the appointment.

 
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