How to Prepare for Your Newborn’s First Pediatrician’s Appointment
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.
2- 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.