As your pregnancy progresses and you check "to-dos" off of your lengthy list, at some point, the question of your unborn child's future pediatrician will arise. If you're a first-time mom, finding a great doctor to care for a baby you haven't even met yet can seem like a daunting task. Wondering where to begin? Look no further. Here's your guide to finding a pediatrician to take your child from the first few days through the early years and beyond!
The controversy over vaccinations is one that will likely continue for years to come, and as a parent, I've been operating under the assumption that it's my job to decide what shots and schedules I am and am not comfortable with. So when I recently read about a new trend of pediatricians refusing to treat families who don't follow their recommended vax schedules, I was slightly shocked.
The National Vaccine Information Center says an alarming number of pediatricians are electing not to treat families who refuse, delay, or alter vaccination schedules. According to a study conducted in the Midwest, 21 percent of the 900 pediatricians surveyed in nine Midwestern states said they have discharged families from their practices for continuing to refuse all vaccines. This is in despite of the policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states, "Families with doubts about immunization should still have access to good medical care, and maintaining the relationship in the face of disagreement conveys respect and at the same time allows the child access to medical care."
So what do you think? Should doctors have the right to dump parents who don't follow their vaccination schedules? Or should they be required to treat all patients, regardless of vaccinations? Weigh in below!
Is there a doctor in the house? In many cases, the answer is now yes! As any experienced parent knows, lil ones always come down with the worst symptoms in the middle of the night. A tot, who has been healthy all day, suddenly develops an extreme fever, rash, or unexplained pain once the pediatrician's office has closed and the wait for morning call-in hours seems endless.
In a throwback to the days of old, a new crop of doctors is offering house call service – for an extra fee. With 24-hour availability, the ability to have kids treated in the comfort of their own home, and the ability to avoid waiting rooms, many mamas are willing to pony up the $300 - $500 out of pocket expense for the luxury. Would you?
A good doctor really does make all the difference. Most mamas-to-be research and sign on with a pediatrician before delivery, but it's in the first few checkups that parents can tell if the relationship will work. A good bedside manner, the ability to engage a tot, or a kid-centric waiting room may add to a medical professional's appeal.
I went with my children's doctor on strong recommendations from family members and friends. Luckily, he had a rare opening at the time. While pregnant, my sister chose her son's pediatrician on his medical background (he graduated from Ivy League schools) and his personality. She figured the fact that he was a young father was also a bonus. What criteria did you go on?
There are few things I despise more than waiting. Like most mamas, I try to squeeze appointments between school runs, work obligations, and my children's play schedules. So when I am forced to sit waiting at the doctor's office, I spend much of the time thinking about where else I'd rather be.
We've been spending a lot of time in doctors' offices these days as my younger son goes through a battery of tests to pinpoint a suspected food allergy. I've learned that kids spend waiting times looking for ways to get into trouble. While I try to fill my bag with Mary Poppins-like distractions, I've also discovered a few "homegrown" activities to pass the time.
- Tap a tune. Grab a few tongue depressors and start tapping to the beat of your favorite song. Your makeshift drumsticks may even inspire you to create a new song.
- 99 Luftballons. When filled with mama's hot air, doctors' rubber gloves make great balloons. Fill a few and start batting them around. Give a few fun high fives. Start a rousing rendition of "This Little Piggy". The novelty of the balloons will help pass at least a few minutes.
- iSpy. The doctor's office offers up plenty of new objects (especially shiny ones) to fuel this game.
- Guess the weight. Infant scales are especially sensitive, which make them ideal for measuring the weight of objects in mama's purse.
- Obstacle course. Line up some tongue depressors (again, these are the workhorse of the pediatrician's office), paper cups, cotton balls, and anything else you might find to create a one-of-a-kind obstacle course. Have your lil one walk on the sticks, jump over the cups, and hop onto the cotton balls. If time is still lagging, start timing how fast they can complete the activity.
A visit to the pediatrician's office should be a breeze. Walk in, see your doctor, and walk out in no time. Unfortunately, it doesn't always go that smoothly. For many parents, a visit to their lil one's doctor involves taking a full afternoon off of work to sit in a room filled with other tots' germs before being seen. While many practices offer separate waiting areas for sick children, nobody likes sitting and waiting. To speed up the process, follow these tips:
- Ask for either the first appointment of the day or the one after lunch. Doing so will reduce the chances that the doctor is already running late.
- Book appointments for the middle of the week. Mondays and Fridays tend to be filled with lil ones who were sick over the weekend or want to be seen before the week comes to a close.
- Call before going in for the appointment. The receptionists should be able to provide some guidance about how closely the doctor is running to her schedule.
- Schedule well-child checkups in the Summer, if possible. With so many families taking vacation and a lack of cold weather viruses, doctor's offices tend to be less hectic throughout the Summer months.
- Prepare a list of questions before arriving at the office. Doing so will help make the office visit go more smoothly and will avoid you having to chase after the doctor as you think of more questions once the exam is through.
- Call a few days in advance to see if you can drop off school/camp forms so they will be ready when you arrive for your appointment.
Thanks to the H1N1 virus, cold and flu season kicked off earlier than usual this year. Since it's no longer safe to assume that a fever and cough are just symptoms of a pesky cold, worried parents are spending less time diagnosing their ill children and more time heading to the pediatrician to find out what is (or is not) ailing their little one. Many mums have made it a weekly routine even. Have you found that you are taking your babe to visit her doctor more this year?
Overwhelmed about deciding to give your child the H1N1 vaccination or not? Join our A Place to Vent group over in our LilSugar Community and share your stress with fellow moms who understand your plight.
A baby's first year of life is full of milestones that often make their way into the baby book – from the first smile to the first steps. Along the journey, infants visit their doctors often for checkups. Aside from the vaccinations that occur, mamas usually look forward to finding out their children's height and weight and to discuss any concerns. Nurses tend to ask a series of questions about the kiddo's development — everything from, "Is he sitting up on his own?" to, "Is he following objects with his eyes?" A friend recently told me that sometimes she fibs her answers. If she's not sure, she says, "Yes," and then races home to see if he can do it. Do you tell the truth when asked about developmental milestones at your baby's checkups?
Source: Flickr User maessive
Bullying is not limited to pushes on the playground. For better, and sometimes worse, children have unprecedented access to their peers outside of school. Harsh words are easy to hurl when hiding behind a computer screen, especially as an anonymous user.
To help protect youngsters from ill will, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a new protocol called Connected Kids. The campaign encourages pediatricians to discuss bullying and date violence with their young patients and parents. Doctors can give mom and dad tips on how to address the two delicate subjects with their youngsters so that the child knows their parents always have their back. And for kids hesitant to broach the subject with their folks, a doctor may offer the perfect unbiased sounding board for the child.
Mothers are hit with conflicting views on autism and vaccines. The morning news will feature a pediatrician denying any link between the two. Then on another channel, a mother is interviewed claiming that immunizations changed her child's life forever. Conflicted about what to do, some parents are opting not to vaccinate their children while others choose an alternative schedule and some stick with the schedule suggested by the AAP. Parents should talk with their pediatricians about their concerns so they can make the best decision for their child.
To see some talking points for a conversation with your doctor, read more