Written by Gayathri Lakshminarayanan
Taking a baby to the doctor, especially a newborn, can be quite a task. This can be even more difficult for first-time parents. There are multiple things to consider such as what to expect from the visit, what to carry, how to carry and how to prepare your baby for the doctor’s visits. In this article, we will discuss various things to consider and how you can plan the visit to make it comfortable for you and your baby.
Preparing for a doctor’s visit includes many factors such as proper timing, planning, being ready for contingencies and avoiding last-minute delays. You will see your pediatrician a number of times during your baby’s first year. So, you need to be prepared well for these visits.
In This Article
During the first year, babies will have regular well-baby visits. These visits are meant to check the baby’s vitals such as height and weight, growth patterns and vaccination administration. Your doctor will also check your baby’s milestones and other parameters that will let them know that your baby is growing well.
Compulsory doctor’s visits generally happen during the 1st week, the 1st month, the 2nd month, the 4th month, the 6th month, the 9th month and the 12th month. Then there will be unexpected visits in between in case the baby falls sick. Either way, it is good to be prepared for such visits.
[Read : Well-Baby Visits in First Year]
It can be challenging to take a baby to the doctor. So, what are the reasons that make this trip difficult? If you understand these reasons, it gets easier to take measures accordingly and reduce discomfort to you and your baby.
Your baby may not understand the fear of the hospital yet or the hospital may not feel intimidating to them. But remember, a pediatric clinic will have other babies and children too. One baby or child crying can create a chain reaction of other babies following similar patterns. Exposure to this phenomenon constantly can create an aversion in your baby to hospital visits in general.
Lay your baby on the hospital bed and move away and your munchkin will start crying and howling. Separation Anxiety is common among babies. Even when they know their parents are waiting in the same room while they undergo a checkup, this won’t stop them. The separation creates a lot of anxiety, and babies cry a lot. This affects not only but also children who are more than 7 years old.
Older babies who have enough experience with vaccinations will relate hospital visits with pain and cry the moment they see the hospital. This is completely natural and expected.
Babies do have their own sets of likes and dislikes. Though we don’t give them enough credit, they do judge a person by their looks. A stern doctor can put babies off and they can start crying. Even if a doctor is kind, having a rough look might put the kid under stress and fear. Sometimes, they also tend to misinterpret qualities like speech and efficiency as sternness or rejection. They may develop wrong opinions and judgments about the doctor and be scared of visiting them.
Babies tend to understand and absorb their parents’ fears and anxieties. If you are worried about your baby’s checkup and look anxious, your baby will start feeling anxious too. This will culminate with them crying at the hospital.
Babies don’t like seeing too many people around. If the hospital is crowded, the baby may feel claustrophobic and start crying.
If your baby is hungry and it is time for their milk or if they have soiled diapers, they may start crying
Here are some tips to plan and prepare your baby for doctor’s visits in a way that wont stress out you or your baby.
If feasible, look for a slot that your baby is usually active in. Taking your baby to the hospital during their sleep time or nap time can wreak havoc with the whole plan. Also, look for a slot where there are lesser number of appointments, and the hospital is less crowded.
Make prior appointments and go to the clinic right before the given time. Taking the baby long before the appointment or making them wait too long can stress them out. Seeing other crying babies can also worry them and they may keep crying for a longer time.
If there is a long waiting time, you can let the staff know and take them baby out on the road to watch people and vehicles pass by. This will take their mind off the tedious waiting time.
You can try carrying your baby’s favorite toy along for the doctor’s visit. The baby may feel calm and comfortable when they find their toy or lovey accompanying them. It helps reduce stress and helps them cooperate for the checkup.
Plan and take your baby out after the checkup every time if possible. This can help them associate doctor’s visits with fun times later. This will also generally improve their feeling towards the doctor.
If you treat a doctor’s visit as just another outing, babies will do the same. They generally understand and follow the parents. This is especially true for older babies.
If your baby is older and can understand language, you can try and explain the advantages of visiting the doctor and how it will help them fight infections. This will also be a good time to introduce stories about infections, injections and medications and how doctors help wage this war.
For younger babies, breastfeeding will help deal with the pain post-vaccination. Carry the necessary maternity gear so that you can feed your baby post-vaccination at the hospital itself if needed.
You never know when your baby may need a diaper change. A soiled diaper can cause a baby to get cranky and cry. It is always good to be prepared for such unforeseen circumstances and carry the diaper bag with all essentials.
[Read : What To Put In Your Diaper Bag?]
Prepare for the visit well on time. If you get delayed, you may end up getting stressed which will rub on to your baby and they start crying. A well-planned and well-timed doctor’s visit can make all the difference.
So, as you can see, preparing your baby for a doctor’s visit is not really difficult if you keep a few simple and easy-to-follow pointers in mind. These pointers will not only make the trip to the doctor comfortable for you and your baby, but your baby will not develop a fear of hospitals when they grow up.
Babies need a compulsory doctor visit six times before turning one. Checkups are done during 1st week, 1st month, 2nd month, 4th month, 6th month, 9th month and 12th month. After this, based on the months and vaccination requirements, you will be asked to come after a specific period to see the doctor.
Regular checkups are essential to keep your baby healthy and to get the vaccination shots at the right time. Your doctor will also measure your baby’s height, weight, growth, milestones and other important parameters that let them know that your little one is healthy. Vaccination or immunization is essential to protect your little one from a severe childhood illness.
This depends and varies from doctor to doctor and any additional issues that you may need to discuss with the doctor. But on average, a normal baby visit can last between 10 to 20 minutes.
Gayathri’s passion for writing had its foundation at the very early stages of her life when she was on her college editorial board and also won several awards for writing events and book review competitions. She combines her corporate experience with her writing skills and her experience as a homemaker makes her an empathetic contributor in the parenting domain . Her shift from full-time accounting professional to a homemaker gave her career a new direction.Read more.
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