Making the Most of Doctor Visits

Once your baby arrives, your family doctor, pediatrician, various specialists, and, at times, emergency room doctors will become your partners in your infant's care. Doctors who specialize in working with families and young children are typically very skilled at recognizing and alleviating anxious feelings, which should put you and your baby more at ease. But still, you should be a proactive patient on your infant's behalf. Here's how to get the most out of every doctor visit so baby remains happy and healthy:

  • Interview several doctors. Before your baby is born, do some research and interview as many doctors it takes to find the right one. Discuss medical approaches the doctor practices. Talk about your expectations and feelings.
  • Observe the doctor's office. Are office personnel friendly as well as organized? Can you call for advice anytime? Will the doctor return your calls quickly? Will the doctor see you and your baby when you think it's necessary?
  • Mutual respect. Your baby's doctor is a partner in your family's health. If that partnership becomes uncomfortable or unsatisfying, be ready to do something about it. Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Consult with another doctor and, if necessary, consider changing physicians.
  • More than medicine. Take advantage of the healthy appointments to talk about your infant. Talking about your baby's behavior and achievements is as important as relating medical concerns. Share stories about how your baby plays, whether she smiles when you talk to her, and what she does when she sees her Grandpa. The more you share, the better your doctor can learn about your baby's social, emotional, and physical development.
  • Put time on your side. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get to the doctor's office. If you don't have to rush or worry, the visit will be more enjoyable for you and baby. Take along a favorite book or toy to read or play with while you wait to see the doctor (consider a picture book about visiting the doctor).
  • Support your baby. Help your baby anticipate what the doctor will do. Talk gently about the doctor's movements and procedures. Even before your baby can use language, he will recognize the tone of your voice and will be comforted by it. Encourage your doctor to talk to your baby during the examination. Gentle talk builds understanding.
  • Be sensitive to baby's needs. Acknowledge your baby's pain and discomfort when appropriate. Before immunizations or other painful procedures, hold your baby close and tell him that something may hurt a little and that you're right there to comfort him. Hold him when you can and touch him gently. Pretending it won't hurt doesn't really help. As you comfort him, you're building trust between the two of you. You're letting him know that you're paying attention to his feelings (both the good ones and the painful ones) and that you're there to take care of him.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.© Studio One Networks