All that anticipation to bring baby home, and when you get there you suddenly realize the weight of the responsibility. You love this little being more than imaginable and will likely have a zillion questions. Many wonder what to expect at baby’s first pediatrician appointment. Bringing your baby to the doctor the first time may even be something you look forward to. You will welcome the professional advice and assurance regarding your baby’s newborn development. But, if you are wondering how to prepare for that first pediatric appointment, here is a quick overview. We know, you are tired and so we will sum it up and make this easy. Your infant’s first regular doctor appointment/ well visit is usually about 3/5 days after birth.
Six Informative Tips to Make Your Infant’s First Doctor Exam Easy
1. Make your appointment:
Ask if your baby will be allowed to wait in an exam room to limit her exposure to germs. If that is not their policy, ask for the least busy time of the office to make your appointment. Plan to be there about an hour, 15 minutes to fill out new paperwork, waiting time, exam, questions and extra time to make your next appointment. You are not traveling as light as you are used to, leave yourself time to get baby, bag, and gear in and out of car and office so you will not feel pressured.
2. Call Grandma, Sister Wife, Husband or Neighbor:
You will want an extra pair of hands to rock the baby while you ask questions, or listen to answers when your focus goes onto the baby. You are likely sleep deprived, a little anxious and all about the baby. You likely haven’t been given the thumbs up to drive yet either. You will want and appreciate an extra person by your side. It is normal to be nervous and forgetful around this time, so gratefully welcome support.
3. Prepare Baby
In a newborn exam, the doctor will ask you to undress your baby. So, limit buttons, layers and keep in simple with a one piece sleeper and diaper. Bring an extra diaper for after, since weight is taken diaper off. Bring a blanket for moments of waiting after undressing to keep your little one warm. Bring all other things you may be needing for baby in a normal 3 hour block; feeding supplies, a change of clothes, burp cloth, pacifier. Nothing extra will be needed.
4. Prepare You
This might be your first time leaving your home post birth. Do not stress about looking perfect or your own weight. Relax into the knowing that you get a “pass” for all of that right now. However, you can prepare by keeping a notepad nearby in the 2 weeks leading up to the appointment and jotting down all the questions that will pop into your mind during 3am feedings, and when you hear opinions and news on baby related topics. You will want clarification. Bring that notepad with you and ask away. The doctor will allow you time to express any concerns. Also, the doctor will ask you questions as well. Keep track of the following things so that you are prepared to answer questions, without having to recall every detail on the spot.
a. Feeding patterns/times
b. Sleeping patterns/positions
c. Quality of sleep for you and baby
d. Your own adjustment/mood
e. Immunization preferences and what baby received at birth ( this is a big topic, you may need to research to get a solid understanding of; and also totally okay to not be sure yet, hold off on anything not mandatory, and ask many questions about)
f. Digestive health, baby’s poo/pee texture and frequency
5. What to expect during the exam: The exam will usually start with the nurse or doctor taking the babies weight on a scale (undressed). She may ask you some preliminary questions. The doctor will check the baby’s weight, length, head circumference, heart, lungs, hips, genital and keep track of growth going forward. This exam will include an eye exam, listening to your baby's heart and feeling pulses, inspecting the umbilical cord, checking the hips, reflexes and expected development. Your pediatrician may say very little unless there is a concern or explain step-by-step. Either way, know you can always ask questions or to slow things down if you need more explanations. Your doctor will leave time for questions and discussion. This is for you as much as for them. You want to be comfortable with your child’s pediatrician. Note your own comfort level. Make sure your both believe in the same basic parenting values. As your baby gets older, this will enable you to parent with support and guidance
6. Leave with assurance: Make sure you are clear on what to expect when you go back home. You want to leave this appointment with knowledge to support your feeding, sleeping and care choices. You want to make sure you have gotten all your questions answered. Be aware of what would be considered typical or abnormal to watch out for. And anything you forget, don’t be afraid to call and ask.
When to call the doctor before your first appointment:
If your infant has a fever or is acting sick, isn't peeing, or isn't pooping normally or at all, is not eating or is in any way acting suddenly different than usual. Use your common sense and intuition. If anything feels off, calling is never a bad idea. Do not give medication to an infant younger than 2 months old without consulting a doctor first.
You are experiencing strong emotions, sadness, anxiety, moodiness and sleep deprivation are all very normal after birth. However, any time any of this becomes overwhelming or you desire help, call your pediatrician right away.
Olivia Treubig © www.mrandmrswrite.net