Visits to the pediatrician are the best gift for your baby
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If you’ve just had a newborn join your family or your friend’s family, you may wonder what could be more perfect. Baby looks healthy, happy and full of love. Who needs well-baby checks?
“It’s a question a lot of parents bring up,” said Carina Garcia, Care Team Coordinator at Equality Health, “especially in larger families. A child might look fine and seem fine, but there could be underlying health conditions that we cannot physically see.”
Baby’s Big Changes
For the next two years, Baby’s perfect-looking newborn body will go through a number of physical and mental changes quickly and often. New parents may miss warning signs, or the quirky actions that all babies tend to have can get misunderstood by even the most experienced families.
“Unfortunately some of those things can play out to a poor outcome,” advised Dr. Sherri Onyiego, Equality Health’s Texas Market Medical Director. “So those exams during the first month of life are extremely important to make sure Baby has a good outcome.”
Even if your family believes the less you have to do with the doctor’s office the better, let’s not forget that parents, guardians and family members all play a role in making sure Baby grows into a healthy, happy and productive adult. During this time of Baby’s big changes, well-child checks play a critical role in making that happen.
“I have an 11-year-old and a 1-1/2-year-old,” Garcia said, “and things have changed. Eleven years ago — and that’s why these visits are so important — stuff that wasn’t brought up in well-child visits is being brought up now. I’m impressed on how medicine and healthcare have advanced so much. You can tell how providers are more engaged with their patients and the parents. Especially for the well-child visits.”
You Are Not Alone
If the thought of trusting your newborn with someone else makes you uncomfortable, bringing Baby to a doctor’s office might feel too difficult a task to do. You are not alone.
“I’m a parent,” Onyiego said, “and when my kids were just born, I was afraid of everything. Especially the first child, you’re afraid of any and everything. I knew early on that partnering with my child’s pediatrician was one of the best things I could do to insure that both my kids had successful outcomes. Engaging and staying in contact with your child’s healthcare provider is really one of the most important ways that parents can truly monitor their baby’s growth and development.”
These days you can work as closely with Baby’s healthcare team as you want. They exist to serve you. If you don’t feel comfortable, you have every right to find a doctor you do feel comfortable with.
“As a mom,” Garcia said, “I can understand where people are coming from in being overprotective. Educating ourselves about the clinic we’re taking our children to and the type of provider and staff that’s going to be seeing our child can help.”
With COVID-19 hitting, you may fear exposing Baby to other potentially sick children. Again, you are not alone.
“That is a big concern,” Garcia said. “Especially if you’re going for a well-child visit. The majority of providers are seeing the sick kids during one time frame, and then they disinfect the area and work with not sick kids that are coming for routine stuff. If yours doesn’t, we’ll look around for another option.”
Sometimes the decision about receiving necessary healthcare depends on your resources. Again, you are not alone.
“Some of the concerns — you can say barriers — that a lot of parents bring up is, ‘I don’t have enough money to pay for these appointments’ or ‘I don’t have transportation to get to my appointment’ or ‘I just don’t understand why it needs to be done’ or they have language barriers,” Garcia explained. “That’s where we come in and education them.
“One,” Garcia continued, “your Medicaid insurance covers all the visits as well as labs and any tests that are completed. Transportation services are also offered through the health plan. As for language barriers, we have two options. We can either try to find interpreter services for the appointment or connect you with a provider that speaks your same language so you can understand what’s being disclosed to you during these well-child visits.”
A Family Affair
If you’re still wondering about well-child checks, watch for our next article later this month to find out what happens during these checks and how they help Baby — as well as you and your family — thrive.