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Get the Most Out of Your Visit to the Doctor

Helpful Tips for Parents and Adolescents

Middlesex Hospital Primary Care providers are with you every step of the way during the growth and development of your child. We take great pride and care in your child's health and collaborating with our young patients and their parents to have an equal and trusting relationship.

At Middlesex Hospital Primary Care, we want our patients to get the most out of each visit. Here are some helpful tips and advice for your next visit to the doctor.

For new parents...

Baby VisitBeing a new parent is filled with excitement and concern for your baby's health. In your baby's first year, you will be visiting your pediatrician often, so the first step for a new parent is choosing one.

Calling and interviewing a pediatrician before making an appointment will give you the opportunity to get to know them some prior to that first visit. Chances are you'll have plenty of questions and concerns about your baby, it is important to go to each visit prepared.

If this is your first visit to the doctor for your newborn, here's a checklist of things you will need to do beforehand:

  • Prepare the diaper bag with everything you will need
  • Gather medical records and documents such as immunizations
  • Bring a pen and a pad of paper, write down any important information so you won't forget
  • Ask questions and voice any concerns (have these prepared, see below)
  • Know when you can call your doctor, see if it is fine to call after hours
  • Before you leave the office, schedule the next appointment

Examples of some important questions you may want to keep in mind and ask your baby's doctor are:

  • If my baby is running a high fever? When should I call you?
  • When is my baby ready to eat solid food?
  • If I have my baby on a certain eating schedule, should I wake my baby if she/he is sleeping in order to feed her/him?
  • When can I take my baby out in public?
  • When should my baby be able to sit up/start walking on his/her own?
  • Sometimes my baby cries nonstop and I did everything I could do, what should I do?

What to expect at your first visit:

  • Your baby will be weighed and measured and check his/her percentile
  • The doctor will check your baby's heart, breathing, eyes and ears
  • Give immunizations
  • Discuss safety issues (car seats and when to start baby-proofing your home)
  • Discuss your baby's development, temperament, and behavior
  • Tips and advice to help you teach your baby to sleep through the night

Your baby's doctor will also ask you a number of questions. By going to your baby's visit to the doctor knowledgeable and prepared will be beneficial for both you and the doctor. Questions the doctor may ask are:

  • How is your baby's health? If she or he gets sick what medicine do you give?
  • What is your baby's sleep schedule like?
  • What are your baby's bowel movements like?
  • Does your baby eat regularly?
  • Is your baby rolling over or sitting up?
  • Has your baby started teething?
  • How are your baby's fine and gross motor skills? (Hand and eye coordination, crawling, walking, etc.)
  • How are your baby's eyes? How does your baby look at things?
  • How is your baby's hearing?

For parents of young children

Child VisitYou know your child best. It is important that you come prepared and know your child's medical history and health. Following are a few things to prepare and bring with you:

A record of immunizations and shots your child received (important if you changed doctors)

A list of any life changes in your child's life such as: a new sibling, serious illness, divorce, etc.

If your child's school requires a back-to-school physical, bring the appropriate forms with you

You will also have questions and concerns about your child's health for your doctor, so come prepared with a list of questions. Examples of few important questions include:

  • Is my child at a healthy weight?
  • Is my child getting enough physical activity?
  • Is my child up-to-date with immunizations?
  • Are there behavioral signs I should be looking for (emotional and mental)?

Your child's visit to the doctor is different in comparison to when they were a baby and toddler. Here is what you can expect during your child's visit and questions your doctor will ask:

  • Your child's health, does your child have any chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma?
  • Do you notice or does your child complain about any abnormal pain?
  • How is your child's behavior? Does he or she pay attention well at school and at home or does he or she have trouble?
  • Have there been any significant changes in your child's family life since the last visit?
  • How are your child eating habits? Do they eat on a normal schedule? Do you teach and promote healthy eating?
  • Does your child do any sports or extracurricular activities after school?
  • How does your child do in school? Does he or she look forward going to school? Is she or he motivated to do well or does he or she struggle?

After your questions and the doctor's questions, the doctor will perform a physical. The doctor or nurse will measure your child's height and weight, check your child's blood pressure, vision, and body parts, and give needed immunizations.

For parents of adolescents

Adolescent VisitWhen your child transitions into the adolescent stages of life, the yearly physical to the doctor will be different. From pre-teens to young adults, your child will be experiencing many changes. This is a very crucial point in his or her life, and if you are looking to change doctors, it is important you choose a doctor that not only you trust but more importantly a doctor your adolescent will trust.

At some point, your child will begin going to the physical alone without you in the room, and your role will change to keeping abreast of your child's health and helping them to prepare for what to expect on his or her first visit to the doctor alone. This also gives them the opportunity to learn and take control of their own health.

You should still voice your questions and concerns about your child's health with the doctor. Important questions you may want to ask (but not limited to) are:

  • Is my child up-to-date with immunizations?
  • What is a healthy weight for his or her age group?
  • What is an appropriate amount of physical activity?
  • Does he or she need any special tests or labs (based on family health history)?
  • Is there anything I should add to his or her diet or eliminate?
  • When and how do I talk to my child about their physical changes?
  • Back-to-school physical forms (important for students entering college)

Some questions your provider may ask are:

  • How does your child eat? Do they eat regularly and healthy? Do you notice or have any concerns about their eating habits?
  • Do your child have a problem with weight? Do they have a positive or negative image of their physical body?
  • What does your child do for physical activity? Do they enjoy doing any physical activity?
  • How does your child do in school? Are they motivated to do well? Do they look forward going to school?
  • Does your child enjoy life? Do you notice any differences in mood and mentality?

When it is time for the doctor to do the physical, he or she may ask you to leave the room. It is important that you prepare your child for what to expect – something your doctor will also offer you help with.

As always, they will measure your child's weight and height, check blood pressure and body parts—this is why it is important to choose a doctor that you and your child will trust.

Some parts of the physical may be uncomfortable, especially if it is their first time. The doctor will also ask your child questions and even educate them about healthy body images. They may ask personal and private questions if they feel depressed, anxious or any other emotional and mental feelings, sex, and more.

It is important to understand that whatever is discussed between doctor and adolescent may or may not be shared with you. Soon enough your adolescent will be on their own, and getting them to take control of their health now will be beneficial for them and you in the long run.

We hope the information provided will be useful and will prepare you and your child well for their next visit. At Middlesex Hospital Primary Care your health and your relationship with our doctors and staff is our number one priority, we strive to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere and hope that you are satisfied with our services.