Make the Most of Your Pediatric Visit

A doctor listens to the heartbeat of a happy baby.Your baby will need to visit the pediatrician about six times during the first year of life for “well-baby visits,” or checkups. This is an opportunity for the doctor to check over your baby from head to toe and make sure everything is going as it should. And, if there are any problems, the sooner they’re addressed, the better.

These visits are also your opportunity, as a mother, to ask questions and get feedback from your pediatrician, so you’ll want to make the most of each one. Make sure you prepare for the appointment by following these tips.

Timing Is Everything

Try to schedule your baby’s checkup during a time that won’t conflict with her regular schedule of naps and feeding. Avoid the afternoons, if that’s when she tends to get fussy, and make sure you’re adequately prepared for diaper changes, snacking on the go, rooms that are too cold or too warm, and anything else you can think of.

Do Your Homework

Take some time to do your own research about infant development, and what you should expect from your baby at this age. On the flip side, pay attention to your own baby and how she corresponds to typical developmental milestones, so you can provide complete information to the doctor. Also, read about what to expect from this particular checkup. Are there typically vaccinations to be given? What might the doctor ask or be looking for at this age? Often, especially if she’s breastfeeding, a mother will be asked questions about how often baby eats, how long she stays on the breast, what her bowel movements look like, and other basic feeding and health questions. They may also ask about sleeping routines, sleep intervals and sleeping arrangements (where your baby sleeps).

Make a List

A good idea is to keep a running list of questions that you can add to any time you think of something you want to ask your baby’s doctor. Bring that list with you to your next appointment, and make sure you get the answers you need. It's handy to keep a running list on your mobile device, so you can conveniently add questions when you think of them. 

Make Another List

Bring along extra paper and a pen (or your phone or tablet) to write down any advice or instructions the pediatrician may provide during the visit. Ask your pediatrician to write down instructions you don't want to forget. 

Be Honest

If your baby sleeps in your bed, don’t tell the doctor that she sleeps in a crib. If someone smokes in the home, or you have lots of pets, or you think someone may have hurt your baby—tell the truth. If she has behaviors or mannerisms that don’t seem “normal,” let the doctor know. He or she can only give your child the very best care if they understand the full situation.