Keeping Baby Calm and Relaxed for Check Ups

For a baby, a visit to the doctor can be a scary thing. There are new people, new sounds, and new surroundings, not to mention having to strip down and be poked and prodded! Make the process a little easier on your baby by following these easy tips for check up happiness.

Keep It Familiar

Your baby is used to being at home with you or other familiar caregivers, so this strange new place can be scary and overwhelming. Do your best to make sure that she sees the same doctor every time, at the same office. Although she may not recognize the place or people the first few times, it will eventually become more familiar. A small practice where there are only a few nurses and medical assistants and you regularly see the same doctor is a good choice for a pediatrician.

You can also bring familiarity along. Bring a blanket from home not only for comfort, but to wrap baby in during the process. Your doctor will want her clothes removed for her weigh-in as well as for the examination, and those rooms can be chilly, especially for a baby. A warm, cozy blanket that smells like home will keep the chill off while bringing a familiar object and smell along. If your baby has a plush toy or any other object she is attached to, bring that as well.

Schedule Wisely

If you want your baby’s check up to go as smoothly as possible, choose your appointment time carefully. Don’t choose a time too close to a regular nap, when baby will be getting tired and cranky. Don’t go when he is likely to be getting hungry – and make sure to have a something to fill his belly available just in case he does get hungry or the wait time is long. If baby is breastfeeding you will always have food with you, but remember that it might be difficult if the chair is uncomfortable or he is distracted by the new surroundings. Avoid mealtimes altogether if at all possible.

If you can, visit the doctor during quieter times of the day when they have less appointments scheduled. Weekday mornings are usually a good bet, but ask the receptionist when the best time is to be sure there won’t be a wait. The longer baby is at the office, the greater the chance he will run out of patience.

Stay Close and Stay Calm

While it might be hard to watch your baby having shots, remember that it’s harder on him. Stay nearby, with your hands on him and talk to him softly. He will take his cues from you; if you seem upset or nervous, he will likely pick up on it and be nervous as well. So try to keep your emotions in check, to help baby do the same. If he does have shots, it’s very likely that he will cry. But if you stay calm, and soothe him with rocking and soft words, the crying should be short-lived.

If you can, it’s a good idea to go to a check up with the other parent along. That way, one of you can focus on keeping baby relaxed while the other takes the job of listening to the doctor, answering questions, and asking any questions you might have.

As your baby grows, check ups will likely get easier because he is more curious and less afraid. The more you encourage him to see a visit to the doctor as nothing to fear, the quicker he will adapt.

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