The Importance of Well Visits in Pediatrics

May 2013. Live-in Nanny. (English). –As a parent, you understand that visits to the pediatrician are essential when your child is sick or exhibiting symptoms of a medical condition. When she’s feeling healthy, however, carving time out of your busy schedule to make and keep well-child appointments can seem like a bit of a waste. There are plenty of reasons why well visits are essential, though. Before you put off that next well-child visit, these are just a few of the reasons why you might want to reconsider postponing it.

Developmental Milestones

While every child develops and learns at his own pace, it’s still important to have an idea of how he’s developing in relation to an established milestone timeline. His pediatrician will evaluate his size, overall health and emotional and intellectual development during well visits, which will either give you peace of mind that he’s coming along right on schedule, or a heads up that special attention may be required. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, a well visit is the ideal time to approach them with his pediatrician to determine what, if any, special action needs to be taken.

Vaccinations

Though the subject of immunizations is something of a hot-button topic in many parenting circles, it’s still your responsibility as a parent to make the most informed choice you can regarding your decision to vaccinate. During a well visit, you can discuss your concerns or questions regarding immunization schedules, your motivations for considering opting out of vaccinating or your reasons for choosing to adhere to the prescribed immunization plan. Your child’s pediatrician is one of your most reliable sources of scientifically-sound information when it comes to immunization, and her opinion should not be overlooked.

Establishing a Relationship

In order for the relationship between yourself, your child and his pediatrician to be a productive and effective one, you’ll need to keep his well-child appointments. After all, how many chances will your pediatrician have to get to know you and your child if he only comes in for the occasional runny nose? Your child’s pediatrician is your first line of defense and biggest ally when it comes to preserving and maintaining his good health, so don’t neglect the importance of well-visits in terms of building that relationship.

School Readiness

Whether you’re getting ready to enroll your child in an early preschool program or are finally ready to take the plunge into kindergarten, well visits with your pediatrician will help you determine your child’s level of readiness. If there are areas in which he’ll need a bit of extra attention, his pediatrician will be able to not only point them out but also help you figure out the most effective methods of meeting those goals.

Medication Monitoring

If your child is one of the millions in America that takes daily prescription medications, well-child and maintenance visits are essential aspects of making sure that the dosage and prescriptions chosen are the right ones to meet his needs. It’s never a good idea to skip out on well visits when you have a child who requires daily medication, even if his symptoms seem to be under control and the medication is working beautifully.

Nutritional Counseling

When your child is an infant, his pediatrician can help you to find the best formula for his body or a lactation consultant to promote successful nursing. As he gets older, she’ll provide valuable counseling regarding his nutrition and dietary habits. Obesity is a skyrocketing epidemic among American kids and teens, but your child’s pediatrician can help you find the most effective ways to monitor and maintain your child’s diet so that it’s healthy, balanced and nutritious. These sessions will almost always take place during well visits, unless dietary concerns are part of the reason behind an appointment made to address a potential health issue.

When your child gets older and is able to participate more in his doctor’s appointments, well-child visits will give him the opportunity to ask any questions he may have regarding his health or the way his body works. Establishing a strong bond from an early age by keeping your well visit appointments will make it easier for him to approach her later, so don’t skip out on them.

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