One of the things new moms and dads have to learn quickly with their children is how to have successful trips to the doctor’s office. When a child is still an infant, there are fewer things that present challenges compared to when they enter the toddler age range. Both these age ranges present challenges for the parents.
With infants you are most likely to be attending the doctor for what they call “wellness visits”. These are when you child is not showing any signs of being ill, but instead regularly scheduled appointments to observe their development in their first year of life. This also will include visits for vaccinations (which are usually part of wellness visits). When scheduling a wellness visit for your infant you should keep a few things in mind. The first is that the office could be full of sick children. Your doctor may have certain times set aside for wellness visits to avoid the interaction of sick children and an infant coming in for wellness visits but that isn’t always feasible. Remember that anything in the office will most likely have germs from sick children on it, especially in the waiting area. For this reason try to keep your infant from touching things in the waiting room if you can manage this. Also when possible, try to schedule your appointments at times that don’t conflict with feeding and nap times. Yes I know with a young infant that can be difficult to impossible, but at least try to accomplish that when possible.
If your infant is sick, make sure your doctor knows this. There is not much that can be done for a sick infant, but the doctor may want to try to schedule them at a time that is not reserved for the usual wellness visits. Also keep in mind that when an infant is sick their schedule will be different than when they are feeling well. One tip I can give you before going to either a wellness or sick visit is to give your child some Tylenol for Infants before the appointment. This will help lessen the pain of shots for wellness visits, and calm them slightly for sick visits. Overall infant appointments are easier than toddler appointments though.
With toddlers you will find that you are bringing your child to the doctor’s office more often because they are sick instead of for wellness visits. Again, the same basic scheduling concerns do apply though for wellness visits so they avoid interaction with other sick children. The issue though for toddlers is that they are more developed and may react more unfavorably to going to the doctor’s office.
My first suggestion to combat this is again; don’t schedule an appointment right around their nap time or their feeding time. They will already be irritable from not feeling well and it will be multiplied if you schedule an appointment at these times. Also with a toddler make sure when going to the doctors that you bring them a couple toys from home. This will serve two purposes: one is they will have a toy they are familiar with to play with and feel more comfortable; the other is this will keep them playing with the toys in the doctor’s office that every sick child in the office has touched.
Even with toddlers, there are few medications the doctor will prescribe. If your toddler has an ear infection they may give them antibiotics but for most illnesses we have found the doctor will end up just saying “it’s a cold, there’s little we can do”, and then telling you to treat it with toddler cold medicine sold over the counter. Do not ever try to self medicate though, if you child is sick make an appointment with your pediatrician.
Doctor’s appointments can be tricky with an infant or toddler, but if you follow this guide of “how to’s” for avoiding some issues hopefully some of the stress will be relieved.