How to Prepare Your Child for the Doctor

01/02/2012 at 04:00 PM ET
Sean Locke/The Agency Collection/Getty

A child’s visit to the doctor can either be a pleasant or unpleasant experience. And a lot of that depends on how safe and comfortable you make your tot feel.

To help create an enjoyable as possible experience, board-certified pediatrician and MD Moms co-founder Dr. JJ Levenstein (below) has shared a few essential tips, which are specifically designed for new parents.

Check them out below:

Be prepared. Call and verify your appointment time, which should be scheduled when your baby is at his or her best in the morning or after a nap.

With children of any age, unexpected delays may occur while getting ready to leave for the visit so to prevent rushing, leave 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

Also, make sure to remember your baby’s immunization records, old medical records and your insurance and contact information.

Keep them comfortable. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, be ready to feed your baby during any uncomfortable situations. Also, your baby will most likely need one or two diaper changes during one visit, so please bring your own diapers, diaper cream, wipes and a change of clothing. (Pediatricians rely on parents to stock their own supplies).

If your baby will receive a vaccination during the visit, hold them close to ease the pain. A pacifier dipped in a sugar solution can also release endorphins and assist in pain relief

Courtesy MD Moms

Keep germs at bay. If your baby is healthy, ask the receptionist if there is another option to waiting in the office with a room of ill children because babies are especially vulnerable to infection.

Also, bring your own soft, non-irritating baby wipes to maintain an all-over clean feeling throughout their visit.

Stick with your routine. In addition to planning your visit during your child’s best time of day, feeding your baby a snack before the appointment will also decrease the chances of crankiness. You can also bring along a favorite blanket or quiet, age-appropriate toy.

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megan on

“Also, your baby will most likely need one or two diaper changes during one visit, so please bring your own diapers, diaper cream, wipes and a change of clothing. (Pediatricians rely on parents to stock their own supplies).”

There are actually people who expected their pediatrician to have that stuff on hand ? 0_0

Jacqui on

Our first pediatrician DID have diapers and wipes right in the exam room, since they ask you usually to completely undress an infant for the appointment. We generally carried our own in our diaper bag, but appreciated the office’s courtesy. It seems like the least a children’s doctor can do. If you forget, or leave your diaper bag in the car you’re just screwed? Nice.

Catca on

I absolutely adore little girls with long red hair! (but why a picture with a little girl going to the doctor when the advice is about infants?)

Sarah K. on

Megan, I agree. Not having diapers on hand seems like either a rookie mistake that you make the first time or just a one-time occurrence because you forgot. It’s not something you would do over and over to point of needing an article to tell you to bring extra diapers and clothes. Also, children cause unexpected delays? Give your child an age-appropriate toy? Snacks prevent crankiness? Uh yeah, that’s just common sense. I’m not sure how many parents out there need to be told that children can make them run late lol.

Shannon on

What kind of parents leave the house without a diaper bag? Anyway the little girl in the pic above is sooooo cute!

ecl on

Thanks for the advice, Captain Obvious!

loren on

When I took my children to the Doctor (42 and 35 now) I took enough stuff for a weekend trip! 1 of us carried the baby, the other the bag. Looking back I was ridiculous taking all that stuff. Oh well, I had good intentions 🙂

Tee on

Okay, the “advice” given in this article seriously seems like common sense to me! Bring diapers? Prepare to wait? Bring a toy? Common sense, people!

The ONLY one that seems even remotely helpful to me is to let people know that they can ask to wait somewhere else during a well baby check-up. A lot of parents might not even realize that’s an option.

kimmie on

“What kind of parents leave the house without a diaper bag?”

I did. And I am sure there are millions of other parents that forgot it on one or the other occasion as well.

Sarah K. on

Kimmie, I think the point Shannon was trying to make is that you don’t need an article to tell you to bring a diaper bag. If you didn’t bring it, it probably wasn’t on purpose. Having an article tell you to bring diapers, ointment, and extra clothes is unnecessary.

Jillian on

Exactly Sarah k!

Scott Adams on

I like that you talked about feeding your child something before the appointed so they are less likely to act out. I have been needing to bring my son in for an appointment and I’m not sure how to prepare him. I’ll have to feed him his favorite snack beforehand to put him in a good mood for the doctor.