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How to Prepare for Your Newborn’s First Pediatrician Appointment

Dec30

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You’re a new mom and probably still in mother shock. Though you will learn the ins and outs of navigating your new best friend’s (aka pediatrician) office, here’s what I have learned.

1- Get ready for the appointment early and schedule it strategically.
The first doctor’s appointment is usually the first week baby comes home from the hospital and is considered a “well-visit.” New moms are always surprised how long it takes to get out the door with a newborn. With my newborn, I felt accomplished if I was able to get out the door by 11am the first couple of months. So, try to schedule your appointment mid-to-late morning.

Guide to Everything Archives2- If you arrive early, you may want to wait to go in.
Some pediatricians have designated areas for their sick patients, keeping them separate from their well-visit ones. If there is only one common area, remember, newborns are only a fraction of the patients pediatricians see. Consider spending as little time as possible in the common area until your newborn has a stronger immune system.

3- Prepare before you go.
Your pediatrician will want to know if the baby is feeding well. If you’re breastfeeding, the best measure of that is the number of wet and soiled diapers that are generated each day. It may be hard for a new mom to gauge whether a diaper is wet or not given the absorbency of diapers these days. Consider using newborn diapers with wetness indicators or doing it the old fashioned way, sticking a toilet paper square in the diaper as your homemade wetness indicator. Do also keep note of how many times the baby has breastfed per day and also ounces of formula consumed if you are bottle-feeding— but no need to go crazy with exact details, a general sense is what the pediatrician needs and is looking for.

4- Trust the pediatrician with info about YOU.
If you are having postpartum issues with breastfeeding, anxiety, or sadness, or really anything please feel free to discuss it with your child’s pediatrician. Your care is still as important as your child’s. Remember how flight attendants in their safety briefing say to put on your oxygen mask first, before assisting children. Well, this oxygen mask analogy applies here too.

5- Get to know the office gatekeeper.
A pediatrician’s office is comprised of more than just the fair doctor. Sometimes there is a nurse, other doctors or just a very-efficient assistant. During your visit, try to suss out the landscape and ask the doctor about procedures and policies like calling for basic questions. But don’t forget to introduce yourself to all the other vital members of the office.

About the author

Isabel Kallman

http://www.alphamom.com
Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of Alphamom.com.

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


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3 Responses to “How to Prepare for Your Newborn’s First Pediatrician Appointment”

  1. Kate Dec 31 at 12:04 am Reply Reply

    Here’s my two bits of advice about preparing for the first appointment.
    1) Write things down! Any questions/comments/concerns that you have will fly right out of your sleep deprived brain once you’re sitting there in front of the Doctor only to return as soon as you get home. (This is good advice for any doctor’s appointment btw)
    2)Remember that line in the baby book that mentions how when the baby gets a little dehydrated after the first few days (before your milk really comes in) there may be spots of orangey-red in the diaper? No? I didn’t either and apparently neither do most of my pediatrician’s patients since he knew what our question was as soon as we pulled a used diaper out of our bag. So no, it’s not blood it’s just uric acid and everything is fine. Now that you know you can save your time and worrying energy for other things :)

  2. EmilyG Jan 02 at 2:12 pm Reply Reply

    This is great advice. I would only add two things: (1) Know where the office is before you leave the house, and (2) bring a complete change of clothes in your diaper bag.
    At my first well-baby visit, we went to the wrong building. After finally finding the right doctor’s office, my son peed all over the scale and himself. When I took him to get a clean diaper, I managed to drop all of his clothes into the sink (with the water running). Luckily, I had packed another outfit in the diaper bag.

  3. Becca Jan 03 at 1:42 pm Reply Reply

    Great advice!! I also believe it is important to set the tone for being baby’s advocate in these first meetings with the pediatrician. Find out about the vaccination schedule that lies ahead and get the literature on these so you can read up and be prepared for those.
    If you are breastfeeding but still trying to find your way….let them know this. Don’t let them try to talk you out of your decision to breastfeed even if you are struggling….I’ve heard of a lot of women who give up after this first appointment because baby isn’t as heavy as the pediatrician would like! Breastfed babies do not gain weight as quickly as the formula fed ones!
    Also, if your baby uses a pacifier make sure the staff knows this. My now 5 year old was using a pacifier and when she received her 6 month shots and started crying one of the nurses placed my daughter’s thumb in her mouth and, thus, began a habit we are struggling to discourage. She had never sucked her thumb before and now, at age 5, she is still struggling with learning to not suck her thumb!
    This is your baby and you have instincts that are real and, most of the time, spot on. Listen to your doctor but also participate in the appointment. Ask questions, answer questions, put in your two cents worth. You are a very important part of your child’s medical care, too!

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