But according to John Doscher, M.D., of Landen Lakes Pediatrics, there is a wee bit of flexibility built in here, for example, if you happen to miss a particular dose, you don’t have to begin immunizing all over again. Further, many vaccines have been combined today so kids get fewer shots than they used to. That certainly helps when it comes to fears of needles! Speaking of which, if your child’s scared of getting a shot, Doscher advises not to “feed into it,” since kids take their cues from parents and fare better when Mom and Dad project confidence.
As children grow, immunization visits become well-child visits. “These are the years for a child’s growth and development,” Doscher says. And since children grow so quickly, parents need to be aware of their developmental issues along the way. Doscher says well-child visits are a key time for communication — aside from arming you with information on nutrition, sleep and other important health topics, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to bring up parenting and medical questions during all-important face time with your child’s doctor. But in today’s economy, some parents wonder why take a child to the doctor if he’s not sick? Doctors caution against this mindset.
“Adults hit a plateau,” Doscher says. “They age more slowly, whereas infants grow fast and are constantly changing.” He explains that when a child goes from age 3 to 4, that’s actually one-third of his life he has experienced — a whole lot happens to his body in that amount of time.
When scheduling a well-child visit, Doscher advises parents to avoid winter months when more sick children are in the office, and aim for the summer months instead, booking those appointments a solid good month in advance. When your children are infants, and well-child visits are only a few months apart, Doscher says just go ahead and make your next appointment while you’re in the office. One less thing to worry about!