10 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Pediatrician at First Checkup

May 17 2013     /     , , , , , , , , ,

Guest post:

Newborn Care

Helping Parents Care for Their Newborn

newborn babyBecoming a parent is an exciting moment in your life, but it also a hectic one. There are so many questions to answer that entire sections of bookstores are dedicated to the demystification of pregnancy and early childhood; still, it’s not always easy to understand every aspect of parenting a newborn. Your baby’s first well child visit is a great opportunity to ask her pediatrician all of the questions that have been plaguing you, and to get a personal response instead of impersonal information printed in a book. These are ten of the questions that you should ask your pediatrician at your baby’s first checkup, along with any others that may be plaguing you.

  1. “How Can We Reduce the Risk of SIDS?” – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is relatively rare, but it’s a heartbreaking situation that you should be well-informed about in order to mitigate the risk. Speaking with your pediatrician about the best practices and accepted methods of doing so is essential to her health, and something that should be addressed as early as possible.
  2. “What Should I Know About Umbilical Cord Care?” – That little stump left over from your child’s umbilical cord can be a confusing thing to deal with, and your pediatrician can help you to understand it more thoroughly. While the labor and delivery nurses will almost always give you a crash course in umbilical cord care before you leave the hospital, it’s easy to lose track of those tips in the onslaught of advice and information you’re given. Approaching the subject with your pediatrician can make it a bit less confusing.
  3. “Is Our Feeding Routine an Effective One?” – Whether you’re breastfeeding or you opted for formula, you’ll need to keep track of your feeding times, the duration of each session and how much your child takes at every feeding so that you can ask your pediatrician for verification that your routine is working out properly.
  4. “Can You Recommend a Lactation Consultant?” – Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization as the exclusive source of nutrition for your child’s first year of life, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Because your pediatrician is focused on the care of your child more than the care of her parents, it’s wise to ask for a lactation consultant recommendation if you’re having difficulty breastfeeding.
  5. “Should I Wake My Baby For Feedings?” – Even in the earliest days of your child’s life, you want her to sleep as much as possible so you can get a bit of rest as well. Still, it’s difficult to know whether or not you should wake her for a scheduled feeding. Your pediatrician can give you answers to questions related to sleeping and feeding, helping you to make an informed decision.
  6. “How Many Diapers Should We Be Using?” – There’s a reason why the hospital staff kept track of your newborn’s diaper changes: they can be a valuable source of information. Quizzing your baby’s doctor about the expected frequency of diaper changes can help you both determine whether or not everything is progressing as expected.
  7. “When Should We Give Her a Bath?” – When your child gets older, she’ll discover a talent for getting filthy that defies imagination. During early infancy, however, it’s not always clear when she needs a bath. Rather than bathing her too frequently and running the risk of drying out or irritating delicate skin, you may want to discuss the matter with her doctor.
  8. “Can You Explain Your Recommended Immunization Schedule?” – Some parents opt to forgo immunization altogether, but vaccination is one of the most reliable ways to prevent the spread of infectious disease and lower your child’s risk of contracting dangerous illnesses. Discussing the matter with your pediatrician at length is recommended before you decide to skip them altogether.
  9. “Do You Provide On-Call Care, and Is Your Practice Reachable After Hours?” – There will be times in your baby’s life that she’s sick enough to require care after hours, but not so sick that a trip to the emergency room is justified. For this very reason, most pediatricians offer after-hours services and on-call care, and you’ll need to know how to obtain that help when it’s needed.
  10. “What Will Happen If You’re Not Available?” – Doctors and nurses go on vacation just like anyone else, and they also deal with personal emergencies that can remove them from the office. In larger pediatric practices, you will probably be seen by another doctor within the practice if an appointment or illness happens when your regular pediatrician is unavailable. Being prepared for this situation in advance can make it less stressful for you, and may provide you with the opportunity to meet the other pediatricians within the practice as a formality.

Making a list of questions for your pediatrician, including these and any others you may have, can help to keep you on track during the appointment so that nothing is forgotten. Don’t hesitate to pursue information you don’t have; a good pediatrician will never make you feel rushed or like a burden for taking up his time with parenting questions.

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