The realization that something might be wrong with your perfect little bundle of joy can be devastating. Whether you’re worried about a birth defect, developmental delay, or hearing or vision issue, medical issues with baby can seem daunting and overwhelming to new parents.
I was once scared to death by hospital residents, uttering words like palpable kidney and heart murmur. Thankfully for my daughter and family, the words ended up sounding much scarier than they actually were. But for many families, this isn’t the case. You’ll need to do more than be an advocate for your child if a plethora of doctor’s appointments are in your baby’s future.
Do your research
Head into every doctor’s appointment as educated as you possibly can. Research medical conditions, medications, and treatment options and don’t be caught off guard by medical terminology.
If you do find that the doctors are talking at you, or over your head, insist that they explain again and again until you get it. It’s imperative that you understand the medical issues going on with your baby.
Seek a second opinion when necessary
Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion if you have ongoing concerns about your baby’s health or if a treatment option doesn’t sound right. You may end up agreeing with the first practitioner, but you might not. It’s best to be thorough.
Similarly, you may need to seek a second opinion from a specialist dealing specifically with children or with a particular condition or medical issue. You may first need a referral from a pediatrician or other health care professional.
Keep detailed notes on appointments
You can never be too organized when dealing with baby’s health. A notebook or folder specifically designated for referrals, test results, and appointments is an absolute must. Consider a section to jot down questions you’d like to ask. Don’t be afraid to take notes during an appointment so you won’t forget something later.
Even if it is decided that a health issue is no longer a concern or that your baby doesn’t need any further treatment, keep these journals. You may need to recall dates of treatments, specific doctors or additional information down the road, and you’ll want to have it available.
Bring a second set of ears
When one of my daughters needed to see a specialist for concerns about her eyes, I made sure my husband came with me to her first two appointments.
Not only was it important for me to have the emotional support, but I needed to have him there to listen, too. Later, we were able to discuss what the doctors said. It was interesting to me that he heard things I didn’t, even though we were both listening. For that reason, I strongly suggest that, whenever possible, you have second set of ears with you at all appointments concerning your baby’s health. The emotional support may come in handy, too.
Spend some quality time with your baby
If you are concerned about your baby’s health, it can be very easy to let that consume you. At times, it will (and should). But make time to enjoy your child too. Find time to cuddle, time to touch, time to hold, time to play, time to read to…time. Take pictures. You will not regret this time, no matter the outcome of any doctor’s appointment.