Going to the Doctor: Birth to 1 Year

Here’s a little "extra" from our Growth Spurts: Birth to 1 Year article "Ah-Choo!" by Evelyn Hanes, R.N. — something we couldn’t quite squeeze in the November issue of ParentLife! The article speaks about when to take your infant to the doctor.


Your doctor’s office is not just for well-child checkups. Most offices have a “sick” area in the waiting room. During the worst of cold/flu/RSV season, they may take you immediately to a treatment room. This helps protect those who are not sick.

If your child is particularly fussy, he may not wait well. Ask for an appointment at the beginning of the day or immediately after the office lunch break for the shortest wait. Come with your biggest supply of patience! Your sanity may depend on a having a well-stocked diaper bag. Bring a couple of favorite toys and books as well as a snack and something to drink. Extra diapers and clothing are always a good idea. And do not forget the pacifier and “blankie” or other comforting object.

Try to keep your baby in your lap. The less he is able to touch toys and surfaces in the waiting room, the less chance he will pick up other germs. If your child does touch anything, keep his hands out of his mouth and wash them thoroughly as soon as possible. If at all possible, do not sit beside anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

It does not take long to realize that babies do not get sick on an appointed schedule. They get sick in the middle of the night or when you are out of town! Even in these inconvenient times, you should still have help readily available. All physician practices have a plan for handling after-hour problems. Find out what your provider’s plan is and do not hesitate to call when you think your child is sick.

Have you struggled with whether to take your infant to the doctor or not? How do you decide?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.