As parents, you want to ensure that your kids live and grow healthily and happily. And so, you feed them nutritious meals every day, let them exercise and explore the outdoors, and tuck them to bed early to get enough hours of sleep. But besides these things, another way you can promote your child’s health is by working with a professional and licensed pediatrician.
What Is A Pediatrician?
A pediatrician is a medical physician specializing in diagnosing and treating the health conditions and concerns of babies, children, adolescents, and teens. They’re trained to handle the different behaviors of babies and children, especially since kids can become fearful, anxious, or aggressive when seeing their doctors for the first time.
Generally, pediatricians have looked after your child’s health from the moment they develop in your womb (prenatal) until adulthood. Consequently, it’s ideal to begin searching for a knowledgeable and experienced pediatrician while pregnant. You can choose from several types of pediatricians, and each type specializes in different fields or ages. For example, some pediatricians only treat adolescents and teens, while others only focus on newborns.
To get the most out of your visit with your child’s pediatrician, look for a clinic that provides a full range of pediatric services under one roof, like https://rexburgpediatrics.com/. That way, you and your child can go to the same pediatric clinic each time and avail of their services, depending on your child’s needs.
What Can A Pediatrician Do For Your Child?
Some parents may only fully understand the vital role of a pediatrician when a such time when their child is already sick and requires immediate medical assistance. Ideally, the pediatrician must attend to and check up on your child several times a year from birth until age two. Beyond that, the pediatrician may check your child at least once a year until they become adults.
So, what role does a pediatrician play, and what can they do for your child’s health? Your child’s pediatrician is qualified to perform the following:
- Monitor Child’s Growth And Development
Children can grow so fast without you noticing it. Thus, you must work with a pediatrician to help you in monitoring your child’s growth and ensure that their developmental stages are on track.
The pediatrician will perform regular checkups several times a year and evaluate their progress in terms of their speech ability, potty training, brain development, etc. If they detect any issue or delay in your child’s growth or development, they may prescribe some vitamins or other supplements to help them reach their full growth potential.
- Perform Physical Examinations
Regular physical examinations and wellness checks are crucial to monitoring your child’s overall health. Through this, your child’s doctor can immediately assess and identify potential health concerns and treat them immediately before they develop into more significant health issues.
- Offer Diet Advice And Monitor Eating Habits
One of the biggest and most common challenges when caring for your child is ensuring they eat a healthy diet. Some toddlers or children can be very picky with their eating, affecting their overall health. The pediatrician can actively monitor your child’s eating habits and ensure they develop without any food-related issues. Remember, your child’s eating habits, and a healthy diet go hand in hand with their growth and overall health.
For instance, are you still determining what foods are healthy for your child? In that case, the pediatrician will help create a meal plan containing all the foods you must incorporate into your child’s diet. In addition, they’ll identify specific foods and beverages that your child should avoid, especially if they have identified any minor health issues that need to be addressed.
Another example is if your child is a picky eater. Your child’s pediatrician can share some tried-and-true tips and strategies to get your child to eat their veggies without rejecting them or throwing tantrums.
- Administer Vaccinations
For many first-time parents, childhood vaccines can be overwhelming. It’s natural to feel unsure and skeptical about whether you need to take your child for immunizations as you don’t know if these vaccines are safe or might harm your child’s health. The pediatrician will help you understand how the immunization process works and explain its importance to your child’s protection. Remember that vaccinations are designed to protect your child and keep them safe from contagious diseases that commonly spread from one child to another.
When your child has completed all the necessary vaccinations, their immune system can build antibodies, making them more resistant to certain diseases. As parents, remember to keep track and list down all the vaccinations your child has received in the past, as your present or future pediatrician will ask for their previous records of immunizations before administering another set of vaccines.
- Diagnose And Treat Illnesses, Infections, And Other Health Issues
Pediatricians can diagnose and treat various illnesses, infections, and other health issues that often affect children. Thus, the pediatrician should be your first point of contact when you see signs or symptoms that your child is sick or unwell. That way, your child’s doctor can determine the underlying medical condition by doing a battery of diagnostic procedures (e.g., X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, etc.).
When it comes to the following common childhood illnesses, it’s best to get in touch with a pediatrician right away:
- Sore Throat
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Bacterial Sinusitis
While some childhood illnesses can be treated with the parents’ at-home care, some diseases or infections must only be handled by the pediatrician, especially if they’re chronic or already severe.
- Check For Abnormalities
Another crucial role a pediatrician can play for your child is to check them for abnormalities. Although all parents hope their child thrives without problems, the chance of developing abnormalities will always be there, especially if it’s in your family’s genes.
Thus, you must take a proactive approach to keep your child safe from genetic conditions by scheduling regular appointments with the pediatrician. That way, the doctor can monitor your child’s development and perform treatments or other preventive measures to prevent any abnormality from progressing.
- Answer Questions Parents Have Regarding Their Child’s Growth
The pediatrician is the best person to ask if you have any worries or questions about your baby’s development. Pediatricians follow children’s growth charts and use them to compare your child’s weight and height in every checkup. These pediatric measurements and percentiles are essential as they show how your child is growing compared to other kids their age.
For instance, if the doctor measures your child’s height and shows that your child is over the average height for his age, your child will likely be one of the tallest kids in class. However, if your child is tall but underweight, that could indicate their BMI (Body Mass Index) is too low.
This is a cause of concern as this implies that your child needs to eat or exercise more to increase their BMI and reach an average weight. In this case, getting in touch with your child’s pediatrician for advice on promoting healthy weight gain would be best.
When Should You Look For A Pediatrician?
Now that you understand what pediatricians can do for your child’s health, you may wonder when to start looking for one. Preferably, you must find a pediatrician for your baby as early as three months before you’re due. That way, you and your chosen pediatrician can get to know each other and your baby’s condition. After childbirth, the pediatrician will check your child within 48 to 72 hours. After that, they’ll give you a schedule for your regular visits to help them monitor your child’s growth.
How To Choose The Right Pediatrician?
Choosing the right pediatrician should not be done in a rush. Otherwise, you may end up wasting time and money by switching pediatricians. Here are some tips to choose the best pediatrician for all your children.
- Ask for recommendations
If you’re a first-time parent, you may seek recommendations from friends or relatives who have previously worked with pediatricians. These people can give you realistic feedback and reviews about their personal experiences. Moreover, you may also ask for recommendations from your family doctor or OB-GYN.
- Check their credentials
Ensure your chosen pediatrician has all the necessary credentials and certifications. This shows that your doctor has undergone all the training and can demonstrate competency in patient care, medical knowledge, and professionalism.
- Get a feel of their office
Before finalizing your decision, visit the pediatrician’s office first to get a sense of the welcoming atmosphere. Remember that you’ll be bringing your children to that clinic soon, so you must ensure that the doctor’s office feels cozy and kid-friendly.
- Choose a pediatrician within proximity
As you narrow your list of potential pediatricians, remember to choose the one close to your home. Remember that you and your child will see this doctor several times a year. A pediatrician within proximity will make it more convenient for you to walk or drive to their clinic. Furthermore, this will save you time in case emergencies occur and you need to take your child immediately to the doctor.
- Check their working hours and after-care availability
Kids can sometimes get sick at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. Thus, you’ll want to choose a pediatrician that can still accommodate your child’s needs or emergencies beyond their working hours.
Children will have unique needs as they develop and grow. Thus, you’ll need a pediatrician to ensure your child gets the highest level of care and grows healthily and happily.
These doctors play a massive role in promoting your child’s general health and wellness. From monitoring their health in the womb and administering vaccinations to monitoring your child’s eating habits, the pediatrician will be your best partner in ensuring that all your child’s developmental milestones are met.