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Does the word “Doctor” put your toddler in a state of high alert? Does she make her resentment known very clearly? Does she start stomping her feet, or clinging to you? Relax! Perhaps your toddler associates all the painful vaccination shots she gets with the word ‘Doctor’. She could not be entirely wrong. But how do you ensure that her visits to the doctor are peaceful, and do not stress you both out? Finding a good doctor is often the first step towards making these short trips as relaxed as possible.
If your doctor possesses most of the qualities described below, he/she is probably the best person for your little one. Hence, before zeroing on a particular doctor, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the doctor’s attitude? Is he sympathetic, caring and sincere?
- Does he have an open and responsive manner?
- What reputation does he carry among other parents?
- How easily is he available?
- Is he medically well-qualified to treat your child?
- Does he respect your time?
Once you have circled in a good doctor, your task becomes much easier. Experts recommend 3-4 doctor visits between the ages of 12-24 months. During these visits, your toddler’s doctor will conduct a thorough check up of:
- Heart and lungs for any abnormal heart rhythms or breathing problems.
- Mouth for signs of infection, and any new teeth, among other things.
- Head for soft spots (fontanels) and the shape of your baby’s head.
- Eyes for signs of congenital eye conditions and other problems. The doctor may also check for blocked tear ducts and discharge.
- Ears for signs of infection and to observe how your baby responds to sound.
- Body for your baby’s reflexes and muscle tone, and examines his skin for rashes and paleness. Pale skin is a sign of iron-deficiency or anaemia, which babies are at high risk for between 9 and 24 months.
- The belly for hernia or enlarged organs.
- Genitals for signs of infection.
- Hips and legs for problems in the hip joints.
Your doctor may also ask you questions about your baby’s sleep patterns, eating habits, appetite, her social skills, how she connects with her peers, any unusual activity that you might have noticed. During this time, your little one will also receive her Hib, pneumococcal, chicken pox (varicella), MMR, and Hepatitis A shots.To make most of these doctor visits, be calm mind yourself, and inform your baby that she’s going to visit her doctor friend. Focus on the cheerful and friendly ambience in the clinic to distract her, instead of the shots and physical exam. Finally, always remember to teach the ‘Apple of Your Eye’ the importance of staying healthy and fit, so that growing up appears like an wholesome and cheerful affair to her.