Taking Baby to the Doctor

Your Pediatrician Will Make Time for You

A pediatrician might have limited time during a standard checkup, especially in these days of rushed managed care. Write down your questions ahead of time so you're prepared. If you know you have a lot of concerns to discuss, inquire about scheduling two consecutive appointment blocks when you're setting up the visit, advises Robert Sears, MD, a pediatrician and a prolific author of parenting books. That way, the doctor can bill for a more complicated consultation, and you'll get more time to talk about what's on your mind. (Be sure to ask whether this will affect your insurance coverage or co-payment.)

Since you will probably have questions that come up after you leave the office, be sure you know how to get in touch with your doctor between visits. Some practices may have a specific phone-in period when patients can call with questions, Dr. Jana says, or they may have a trained nurse who is available by phone to help you figure out whether your baby needs to be seen. Some pediatricians have an office e-mail address or will even give you their home number or personal e-mail. It's also a good idea to ask what resources the doctor recommends, since a good book or Web site can answer a lot of the nonemergency questions that come up.

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