You likely have many questions about your child’s medical care. One of the first questions you may have is whether to use a family doctor or a pediatrician. Family doctors and pediatricians can provide medical care for teens, children, and babies. Both can perform routine care including immunizations, checkups, and well-baby exams. They are both capable of treating illness your child may develop too. But, a pediatrician focuses only on caring for babies, children, and teens, rather than people of all ages.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your baby’s pediatrician including location and the needs of other family members. Ultimately, you must pick a professional you feel comfortable with and someone you can trust to help you make decisions about your child’s care. The following can help you make the most out of your child’s doctor visits.
How to find the right pediatrician
Finding the right pediatrician is the first step in getting the most out of your child’s medical care. A great way to find a doctor for your child is through word of mouth. Talk to other parents in your area, family members, and friends. Hearing about personal experiences others have with a specific professional is an excellent source of information. You can also check with the agencies that grant licenses to doctors, social media outlets like Facebook, and review websites.
How to prepare for your child’s doctor visits
When it’s time to take your child to the doctor, it’s easy to forget all the questions you’ve wanted to ask since the last visit. Your child is probably nervous about interacting with someone unfamiliar, which makes it more difficult to focus on your questions. It will help you to list your concerns and issues in order of priority and bring them to the visit.
What to expect when you see the pediatrician
When you are taking your child to the pediatrician for a checkup or because they are not feeling well, you can expect a few things. You should be prepared to provide information and answer questions about their history and current condition. Keeping track of your child’s development, growth, and any health issues you’ve observed is a good idea. This will help you share this information with your child’s doctor if they don’t’ already have the information.
The pediatrician will address any health concerns you have, explain any findings from their exam, and then treat any minor or severe illnesses. If your child’s illness is beyond what your doctor can manage, they will refer you to other health professionals who specialize in certain fields.
When should you take your baby to the doctor?
A baby’s first pediatrician appointment is typically scheduled within their first week home from the hospital. At this appointment, the doctor will weigh your child and measure their head circumference and length. They will also look for any signs of jaundice, a condition where the skin turns yellow due to a high amount of bilirubin in the liver.
The doctor will also want to know how your feedings are going. Having a record of how much formula your baby is consuming is useful to bring along. If you are breastfeeding, you will want to provide a report on how those feedings are going.
The doctor will perform a general physical exam to ensure your baby is healthy and ask you how the family unit is adjusting to the arrival of the new child. They will also complete any screening tests that were not performed at the hospital. This checkup does not have to be with your family doctor or your child’s pediatrician. It can be performed by the doctor at the hospital where your child was born.
What you can expect from your child’s first doctor visits
A baby should have regular pediatrician visits during their first 2 years. These visits typically happen at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months, and then at two years. After they reach two years old, you should continue checkups once a year until they are five years old. From five years old and up, checkups can be done every one to two years until the age of 18.
During your child’s first two years of well-baby checkups, you can expect the visits to last between ten to twenty minutes. The pediatrician will check your child’s weight, height, and head circumference. They will discuss your child’s eating habits and provide you with information about safety and other issues specific to your child’s age.
Each visit is an excellent time to address issues such as your child’s recommended vaccines and when you should schedule them. You might want to discuss which development skills you should watch for and what age you should start seeing them as well.
Need more information about seeing a pediatrician?
If you have any questions concerning your child’s health or want to discuss scheduling a well-baby appointment, call the offices of John M. Young today. We work hard to give you and your child the best clinical experience possible. Stop by our offices at 1500 S. Coulter Street, Suite #3 in Amarillo, Texas to find out how we can help keep your child healthy. You can call us at (806) 354-0404 or Send Us an Email to learn more about our Services.