Choosing the right doctor for your child is an important decision. Some parents know which doctor or practice they want for their baby before they give birth. Others start the search during pregnancy. If you are a new mom or dad, choosing a pediatrician prior to delivery allows for an informed decision and a chance for you to meet potential doctors to discuss details about the practice, when to bring your baby in for the first appointment, hours, what to do in case of medical needs after hours, and to generally get to know your child's pediatrician.
Our offices provide unique advantages to our patients. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how our pediatric offices can provide quality and convenient care for your child. Please browse through our website for additional information on a practice that is convenient for you.
What to expect during my baby's first visit:
The first appointment to your Pediatrician can be an overwhelming one to most new patients. To make this transition a little bit friendlier, here are some helpful tips for what to bring and what to expect at your visit.
First and foremost, remember the famous diaper bag and all the things you might find useful. Some useable items you should have in the bag should be
In addition to the above, remember to bring your baby's documents that you doctor may need, such as discharge papers from the hospital (for you as well as your baby), and, in New York State, the pink newborn screening sheet.
At your first visit, your healthcare provider will ask you a lot of questions in regard to your pregnancy, labor and any medical issues you or your family members might have (those that could possibly be passed down to the baby). He/she will also ask about your baby's breastfeeding or bottle feeding habits, including how much and how often. Try to remember important information such as the baby's birth weight, discharge weight as well as if the infant has received any vaccines in the hospital; usually the hepatitis B vaccine. Now, there will be just a couple of more questions about the baby's stools and if the infant has had approx 6 to 8 wet diapers a day. Keeping track of dirty diapers is a common question and helps determine how well your infant is feeding.
At this point, you'll probably be happy the interrogation is over because now, with all that said and done, the baby will be undressed, weighed, and the baby's length and head circumference will be recorded. The doctor will then start the actual exam, which usually consists of listening to the heart and lungs, feeling the 2 soft spots on the baby's head, checking the hips and reflexes, and looking at the genital area (especially circumcised males). Remember it is not uncommon for the baby to look a little yellow. Your pediatrician will look over your baby's color to make sure it is within the normal range.
Finally, you can redress you precious cargo. Most doctors will then talk to you about some newborn care. This might consist of instructions about various routines, such as making sure your infant always sleeps on her/his back (decreases the incidence of SIDS), sponge bathing the baby until the cord falls off (7 to 10 days), keeping your home temperature approximately 68 to 72 degrees (not to cold and not to warm), and always placing one extra layer of clothing on your baby than what you would wear. Remember, at this age you should not give your child any over the counter medications without first discussing this with your child's pediatrician. If for some reason you feel that your infant is not feeding well or is acting irritable, you can do a rectal temperature (Yes, rectal for infants. This is the most accurate method of obtaining core body temperature.) Any temperature over 100.4 F you should call your Pediatrician immediately. Remember to make a follow up appointment in 1 month and, most important of all, just enjoy your new gift.
Article written by: Beulah Puthuparampil-Mehta, DO of Community Care Pediatrics-Clifton Park