As a new mom, you’re facing so many different experiences and unknowns. Having a brand new baby comes with so many questions, concerns, anxiety, and worries.
You may wonder if you’re caring for them correctly, giving them enough to eat, or even using the proper equipment.
The good thing is that you’re not alone! Whether or not you have the immediate support from family or close friends, there are a ton of resources and help to get you through those first few months of the unknown.
You may turn to Facebook groups where other women share their experiences, Google to find commonly answered questions, or the latest mom blog for their take on specific issues. However, basing your knowledge on other people’s experiences may not always be the best for you and your baby.
Trust Your Pediatrician
A Pediatrician can be your trusted source of information. They have the expertise and background to address your biggest fears and worries.
You should feel comfortable voicing your concerns, asking questions, and getting feedback about a variety of issues. Remember, no question is too simple or too unimportant to ask.
Your doctor won’t know what you don’t tell him!
Although Pediatricians have the experience to give their knowledgable medical opinion, they may not tell you things unless you ask.
Just by looking at your child doesn’t give them a full picture of everything that could be going on. Unless you tell them, your doctor won’t know that they spit up after every feeding, develop a rash after every time they drink formula, only sleep for 20 minute periods at a time, or haven’t pooped in 2 weeks.
This is why you need to be the one asking questions, voicing your concerns, and being adamant about certain measures you’d like to take. There were several times where I needed to speak up for my child because the doctors or nurses weren’t aware of many concerns I was having.
During the first year of your baby’s life, you will be spending a lot of time at the Pediatrician’s office. These routine, baby check-ups let your doctor keep track of and monitor your baby’s development and growth.
The visits are also beneficial to guide and prepare new parents in the education of their child’s development and to ask questions and voice concerns, if needed.
There is a typically a schedule of well visits that your Pediatrician will go over with you. Your first visit in the office will probably be a day or two after coming home.
After that, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a checkup at 2 weeks, followed by visits at 2, 4, 6, and 9 months, 12, 15, and 18 months, and 2 years.
Get your concerns addressed
Your doctor may sit you down and give a thorough explanation of newborn development, how your child is doing physically, and what you should expect to see in the coming weeks or months.
Hopefully you get this kind of information, but sometimes doctors don’t give us the full attention we need.
Nowadays, they really expect you to have most of that knowledge on your own. Between books, Google, and social networks, they probably assume you’ve got it all down, but that’s not the case for most of us.
When reading parenting books, the information overwhelmed me and you never know what you can trust what you read on the internet. So it’s best to be prepared for your first few appointments and make sure that all of your concerns and questions are addressed.
Sometimes the doctor may not have the best answer in your situation
All doctor’s opinions can vary so that’s why it’s important to be sure that your views are the same as his.
Sometimes in parenthood, there is no right or wrong way. From brands of formula, to feeding schedules, to sleep routines, to treatment options, each doctor is entitled to their own professional opinions.
That’s why you should be very comfortable and confident with your doctor and their practices. However, if you have a difference in opinion, it’s ok to go against something your doctor recommends.
That’s why SOMETIMES friends, relatives, or even Google can be a lot of help.
If you haven’t picked a pediatrician yet, you may want to start looking. You can choose to set up a consultation and meet with them you’d like. This is a great opportunity to interview your doctor to make sure they are a good fit.
Start a list of questions or concerns
Before you go to your newborn appointments, be sure to jot down a list of your specific questions as they pop up in your head. I like to start this at least a week before my appointment so I have plenty of time to think of anything that has been concerning to me.
When I think of something pertaining to my baby, if I just make a mental note to ask the doctor next time, I will forget. So making a list helps you to recall all the things that came to mind in the past few weeks.
9 Types of Questions for your Pediatrician
Below is a list of categories and questions that you may want to ask your doctor based on specific concerns you have with your baby. Use these categories as a guide to help think of things that you have noticed.
1. Questions based on delivery and childbirth history
- Have they returned to their birth weight yet?
- Were there signs of jaundice (yellow skin)? Do I need to follow up on checking bilirubin levels for this? Do they need phototherapy?
- Was there any trauma at birth that needs follow up?
- Did their required screenings in the hospital come back normal? (hearing, blood work, pulse oximetry)
- If they were premature, did that have any effect on their development thus far? Should I be adjusting their age when comparing development?
Related Post: My Experience with Newborn Jaundice
2. Questions based on your child’s current physical health
- What is their height/weight/head circumference?
- What percentile do they fall in for these measurements?
- For any skin concerns, (baby acne, pimples, rashes, bumps, bruising, dry skin, eczema, birth marks, redness), are these normal?
- Is their heart rate, breathing, and temperature normal?
- If your baby seems like they are in pain (after feeding, in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning), what could be causing it?
- How often should my baby be urinating and pooping?
Are their poops the right color and consistency?
How do I know if my baby is constipated or has diarrhea?
- How do I know if my child’s vision and hearing is developing properly?
- My baby seems gassy. How can I reduce that?
- My baby is very fussy and irritable. Is it colic?
- Do you notice any abnormal movements or physical motor restrictions in their movement?
- Is my baby’s head shape normal?
3. Questions based on feeding your baby
- How many ounces should my baby drink at one feeding?
- How many ounces should my baby drink in one day?
- How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?
- Why does my baby want to eat every 20 min/40 min/ 1 hour?
- How long can I go between feedings?
- Do I have to wake up my baby for feedings? During the day or night?
- When can I change the amount of feedings my baby gets?
- What formula should I use? (Organic, soy, cow’s milk, powdered, ready-to-feed
- Should I feed on-demand or on a time schedule?
- Can you refer me to a lactation consultant for nursing issues? (baby latching, are you producing enough milk, how long on each breast, sore nipples, engorged breasts, pumping)
- How should I be burping my baby and how often?
- Are they spitting up too much?
4. Questions based on your baby sleeping
- What’s the safest place to let my baby sleep?
- How many hours should my baby sleep at night? During naps?
- How many naps should my baby take at this point?
- Should I wake my baby if they sleep too long?
- How do I prevent SIDS?
- Do I need a bedtime routine?
- Should my baby be on a set schedule?
- Is it too early to start sleep training?
- Can I let my baby cry-it-out at this point?
- How do I get my baby to sleep longer stretches?
- What do I do if my baby won’t sleep?
- Is it ok if my baby only naps in my arms?
- Should I use a swaddle? Pacifier? Any other sleep or soothing aid?
5. Questions based on caring for your baby
- Does my baby need any supplements or medications? (Vitamin D, Iron)
- How often should I bathe my baby?
- What’s the proper way to bathe a newborn?
- How do I care for my newborn’s belly button/umbilical stump? Does it look normal?
- How do I care for my son’s circumcision? Does it look normal?
- What’s the best way to soothe my crying baby?
- When can I start putting sunscreen on my baby?
- What products can I use on my baby? (shampoo, wash, lotion, creams)
- Should I give my baby massage?
- How do I take my baby’s temperature? (rectal, ear, or temporal) Which is most accurate?
6. Questions based on future milestones
Since your appointments are spread out over a couple months and get spaced further apart as your little one gets older, you may not see the doctor during the next transition or milestone. So, be prepared with questions that can arise within the next couple of months after that appointment.
- When should I start feeding my baby solids?
- What should be the first foods I feed my baby?
- What should my baby’s next milestone be and when? (smiling, rolling, sitting up, crawling, walking)
- What are some activities or exercises I can do to get my baby to roll/sit up/crawl/stand/walk?
- What vaccines will he receive at the next visit?
- When can my baby start tummy time?
- What toys and activities are best for my baby at this point?
7. Questions based on hypothetical concerns or emergencies
Your doctor may not have time to sit and entertain a list of hypothetical questions just based on your worries or anxieties. However, if there’s something that could come up pertaining to the next developmental step or a concern you have over an emergency that could arise that needs immediate attention, don’t be afraid to bring it up to your doctor.
- What should I do if my baby spikes a fever?
- What should I do if my baby has an allergic reaction to a new food?
- What should I do if my baby wakes up screaming?
- What should I do if my baby has a runny nose?
- How will I know if my baby is sick?
- What are the typical side effects of this vaccine? What do I do if he has a reaction to the vaccine?
- What do I do if I notice an infection? (umbilical stump, circumcision, ear piercing)
- Where can I take an infant CPR or First Aid course?
- What hospital are you affiliated with if I need to go?
8. Questions based on pediatrician support
- Are you available 24/7 if I have an emergency?
- How do I reach the pediatrician after hours?
- Do you have a sick room and a well room?
- Can I contact the pediatrician via email or text?
- What’s the standard well visit schedule for my baby?
9. Questions based on family history or genetics
- Make your pediatrician aware of any family history that could play a role in your baby’s development, including allergies or illnesses.
Remember, your pediatrician is available to you 24/7 and any emergencies you should need them for can be called upon immediately. Even for minor concerns, just call the office and the doctor or nurse will call you back with an answer.
You may not need to make an appointment and head to the office for every little thing. Some doctors are even generous enough to give out their cell phone number for any issues!
However, even though they are licensed, professional medical doctors, that doesn’t always mean that your Pediatrician is an expert in every single case and situation that they see.
You might even find that the best advice comes from a best friend or mom blog of someone that has had the exact same experience as you.
As a mom, you have to trust your gut and advocate for your baby as much as you can. You know your child the best so don’t be afraid to ask all the questions and voice all of your concerns!