How to Talk to Your Pediatrician
When I was pregnant for the first time, I began my search for the perfect pediatrician. I made appointments to “interview” the perspective doctors and take a look at their practice. It seemed like the right thing to do, but many doctors were not accustomed to this type of “meet and greet”. I do think however, that they all appreciated my interest. Building a relationship with your doctor takes time and a willingness to fully participate. Over the years I got to know Dr. B and he became very well acquainted with my family. I asked many questions and discussed best practice when there was a choice. We didn’t always agree, but our discussions and disagreements were respectful. That respect helps you when tough decisions are to be made.
I continued to ask questions and often came prepared with information for my doctor to help with assessing the issues. It is important that if you disagree with your doctor’s advice, you should ask for a second opinion. You need to feel comfortable with the path you take. Below are a few tips on how to talk with the doctor. I combined my ideas with the CDC’ s recommendations. Remember you are the expert on your child. It is up to you to give the doctor the information he needs to understand your whole child. You are a team when it comes to your child’s medical and developmental health.
- Prepare for your visit to the doctor: If you have specific concerns, write them down so you don’t forget in the moment. Bring in that paper to help you relate your concerns to the doctor. If you are concerned about development, give specific instances or examples to help your doctor understand more fully your concerns. For further information request that your doctor perform a screening to assess where your child is developmentally.
Ask all your questions at the visit: If your doctor seems to be in a hurry or you are unable to get your questions answered, ask if you can have follow up appointment or phone call. Take notes as to what the doctor has said to help you explain to a family member or when you need to follow up.
Make sure you have processed what the doctor has said and understand what to do next. ( Restate what you have heard)
Your doctor may tell you to wait until the next visit or call a local community resource, or he may give you specific directions.
Be sure to follow up on activities and instructions when you are home, and then tell your doctor how it went.
There are many important decisions we as parents make as we navigate our children through childhood. Listening to our family and friends is not always helpful. Trusting our doctor to know the facts and give us sound medical advice is essential.
For more information on possible developmental concerns/milestones and what to do next: www.cdc.govbe/actearly