There are a million reasons to take to your baby to the doctor if you take a moment to imagine them all. But, there are also a million reasons not to! Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe you can handle this! A lot of the time you can. When you stop being riddled by self-doubt and paranoia, you might come to realize that your baby is going to be just fine!
We live in a society where going to urgent care is second nature, but it wasn’t always that way. Stop letting online articles and how to guides, tell you that you are a bad parent if you don’t take your baby to the doctor with every bump and sniffle. Much of the time we over analyze and panic at the slightest sign of distress or illness. But, really, we don’t need a doctor for every little thing!
Well baby visits and vaccines, fevers and rashes, runny nose and tummy aches! Do we really need an appointment for all of that? The truth is, sometimes you do need a doctor. But, the raw reality is that most of the time you do not! It’s okay to take care of your baby at home and not worry about a thing. You have instincts you know, and they will surely kick in when something serious is in order. Until then, rest assured that most things you can handle right at home. And when it’s time for higher order, you will know!
15 Well Baby Visits
Contrary to popular belief, well baby visits are not a requirement. They were both created and are highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but they are NOT law. These visits are by no means required and you, as a parent, have every right to opt out. We are in no way saying that parents who do wish to attend these, should not do so. We are merely saying that every parent has the right to know that they cannot be forced to participate.
Many hospitals, physicians, and pediatricians will simply give you the schedule for well-baby visits, assuming you will go. But, there is no literal need for babies to receive a monthly, bimonthly or even quarterly visit to the doctor. The purpose for these visits is to compare the development of your child to others, and to promote the use of scheduled vaccines. Well baby visits are not medically necessary for healthy children.
14 Scheduled Vaccines
Vaccines are mandated by legislation in each state. Usually these regulations are closely linked with school immunization laws. However, these laws are subject to exemptions. This means that every parent has the right to ask seek exemptions to these requirements. You cannot be forced to immunize your child, nor should you do so without doing your research.
Vaccines should not be taken lightly and all parents should be well informed on the potential risks and complications of giving their children blanket vaccines. Many people choose not to cooperate with mandated vaccines for a variety of personal reasons. You can get exemption for medical or religious exemptions.
In 18 states, you can also get a philosophical exemption based on objections of personal, moral, or non-religious beliefs. Some people are not aware that they have the personal right to opt out without receiving persecution from their community or school district.
13 For Delayed Milestones
With a world full of guides and how to’s on parenting and child development, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed if it seems like your baby is not performing on time. Before you rush to the doctor because your baby hasn’t cooed, rolled over, or started crawling in line with all the charts…stop and take a deep breath.
The “normal” range for reaching developmental milestones is not the same thing at the average range that you are likely seeing posted everywhere. Many babies fall much higher or lower than the median number. Concern or intervention are rarely necessary, so long as your child falls somewhere in the 5th-95th percentile. Basically, strictly comparing your child to his peers or guidelines can cause a lot of undue stress. Your child will develop at his own pace, which is the probably the healthy pace for him. Remember that milestones are theoretical rather than concrete and there is a lot of room for variation.
12 Unconcerning Fever
Have you ever heard that a fever is a good thing? Research has shown that fevers promote the healing process. Reducing a fever could actually result in hiding symptoms and in suppressing the immune system. It can also mean spreading a virus, by masking the symptoms that would signal your child is contagious.
A fever will usually run its course with little more harm than body aches and mild discomfort. Of course, if the child seems to be in moderate pain or unable to sleep from the discomfort, ibuprofen is a good choice to relieve severe symptoms.
There is not a certain temperature that requires emergency treatment, nope, not even 104. Your child’s behavior and symptoms during a fever are more significant than the number on the thermometer. And a good thing to know, fever does NOT cause brain damage! So, stop stressing about it and trust that the fever will pass in due time.
11 Red Rash
Usually rashes are no reason to panic. Whether splotchy, itchy, or red; many times, a mild skin rash is more irritating than emergency. Most often the rash is a form of irritation or non-life-threatening allergy. Skin reactions can be caused by chemicals, plants, bug bites or allergic reactions. Typically, there is no need to high tail it to the doctor. It is important to identify the irritant to prevent future reactions.
A few simple tricks can offer significant relief and prevent an unnecessary appointment. Washing and patting the skin dry with a mild soap or applying a damp cloth can soothe the area. Remind your child not to scratch or cover the area with clothing. Rashes will usually subside within hours to days after onset. If it isn’t painful, accompanied by other symptoms, or interrupting daily activities and sleep, it is probably safe to simply wait it out.
10 Runny Nose
The baby’s got a cold! Watery eyes, puffy face, and a runny nose! More than the healthy, clear version that we see after a crying fit. Thick, mucus-y, yellow or green discharge can seem like a really bad sign. But, runny noses and colds are very common in babies and young children.
Many parents get concerned when it seems like the cold is lingering a little too long or when it seems like the child is repeatedly sick. But, the truth is that most kids get 6-10 colds every year and it is not uncommon for each one to last as long as two weeks! Usually these are viruses that your child does not have immunity to yet. If the baby isn’t running a fever or having breathing complications, there isn’t a lot for a doctor to do. Load up on the tissues and simply wait for it to pass!
Many parents start to get concerned if their child is vomiting for more than a day. We worry about things like food poisoning, dehydration, and weight loss. Most cases of vomiting are caused by viruses that include but are not limited to the flu. Weight loss is expected and dehydration can be prevented at home with just a few sips of water on a regular basis. But, going to the doctor is usually pointless as there are few anti-vomiting or anti-nausea drugs that are appropriate for kids.
The best treatment is rest and clear fluids. Small, frequent sips will keep a child hydrated. The more hydrated they are, the less likely they will continue to vomit. The virus will usually pass within a few days and then you can gradually introduce solids and activity as tolerated. Typically, vomiting is no reason for panic and the symptoms will subside within a few hours to a few days of onset.
8 Not Eating
Babies and children are notorious for being unreliable eaters. But, some parents grow concerned when it seems like their child is not eating enough. Especially with toddlers who can seem to go days without eating. Before you head to clinic, there are few things to consider. Young children still eat from necessity over desire. You can trust that when they are hungry and need to eat, they will. Ensure the child isn’t ill, too tired, or too distracted when it is time to eat.
Often around age 2-3, the child’s growth slows dramatically compared to the rapid development in the first year. When his growth slows, his appetite does as well. Forcing children to eat when they don’t have the desire to, can often make the situation worse. Children this young still need only a small amount of food to qualify as enough. If he is eating a portion the size of his fist, he is getting enough.
7 Ear Infections
Not only are ear infections incredibly painful, they are the most common reason that pediatricians prescribe drugs to infants and children. You probably know of a few kids who have had the surgery for tubes, too!
But, wait just a second! Doctors are now starting to rethink this automated treatment for the slightest tug on the ear. It seems that these days the bigger threat is antibiotic resistance over ruptured ear drums. So, what are they saying? It is better to wait it out. Studies have shown that if the immune system is allowed to act naturally, nearly 60% of ear infections will clear up on their own in JUST ONE DAY! And 80% will subside in less than a week.
Note: This only applies to babies over 6 months old and with a good dose of personal judgement in older kids. If your baby is younger, or if your child is in extreme pain or seriously ill with an ear infection, a doctor’s visit is advised.
6 Sore Throat
It can be hard to tell if a baby has a sore throat, especially since she might have trouble telling you that is the problem. But, is it certainly possible that she can have the symptom of a common cold. More painful versions, like strep throat are usually rare in children under 2 years old. But, just like you, the doctor probably won’t do anything for a sore throat unless it is preventing her from eating or giving her difficulty while breathing. Usually, the best thing to do is ride it out.
Just like other viruses, the symptoms will usually pass after a few days. If she seems very uncomfortable, you can always give her children’s pain relief. A breastfeeding baby should be encouraged to continue nursing. If the child is older, she can be given soft foods like applesauce, jello, broth, and popsicles until the irritation passes.
Nobody like to hear their baby coughing and it can be pretty confusing to tell when it is serious or fleeting. We have a couple of tips to help you analyze at home when it isn’t really necessary to see the doctor. First thing to think about is if she has a cold, or has had one recently. If so, the cough is probably related and may not be of great concern so long as it isn’t lingering. Next, if the cough doesn’t produce anything or is dry, your kiddo is probably in the clear.
Upper respiratory infections, acid reflux and seasonal allergies can cause a cough that is not harmful and does not need medication. Symptoms may increase after eating, when outdoors, or with exertion. But, usually they are nothing to worry about. If you think it could be something more serious like bronchitis, pneumonia, or asthma that is the time when your child should definitely get the opinion of a doctor.
4 Not Sleeping
When it comes to babies and parents, sleep seems to be the ultimate battle. When to wake, when not to, how much is too little, and how much is too much?! Especially with new parents, or even with a new baby this dilemma can prove imminently stressful. While there are guidelines for how a much an infant ought to sleep, these are by no means rigid rules. Just like adults, babies needs and desires can vary quite a bit.
For the most part, many parents worry about this way too much! You don’t need to call the doctor in a panic if seems like your baby isn’t sleeping enough. Milestones, teething, and timing can all get in the way of baby sleeping. But, so can other things like preferences, temperament, and personality.
Did you know that gifted babies often need less sleep and sometimes benefit from extra stimuli instead? True story! Sometimes the need for less sleep is one of the first hints of an intellectually advanced child.
As a parent of babies, there is probably only one thing you worry more about than sleep...and that is probably poop. When you are constantly changing diapers, it is impossible not to notice subtle changes in color and texture. Stools that are suddenly softer or looser are not necessarily diarrhea…and might just be a response to something different in their diet.
Before you have a big reaction, take a moment to think of any changes that might have made an impact. Even a little more juice than normal can cause a bit of a fuss. Food allergies like lactose intolerance has also cause diarrhea.
Most of the time, diarrhea is in no way an emergency and will pass with very little intervention. Keep baby hydrated, avoid non-breast milk, and use some cream on the bum to get through it. If it does happen that you baby shows signs of dehydration (no wet diapers for 6 hours, and no tears), seems lethargic, has a high fever, is vomiting profusely or if you see blood in the stool…then play it safe and get her to the doctor asap!
2 Bonus: Bring Baby To See Doctor After A Choking Incident
If you haven’t found yourself in this situation, you might not have thought about it before. But, if your child is involved in a serious choking episode, he should see a physician. When the airway has been completely blocked and has obstructed breathing, the brain begins to die within 4 to 6 minutes. Oxygen deprivation is serious and your child should be seen after a significant choking event. Anyone who loses consciousness during choking needs to be evaluated immediately.
Choking of this nature can occur with a mucus blockage, food, or even from the tongue during sleep. Even if consciousness was not lost, an infant or child could have internal or airway damage. Back blows, chest thrusts and abdominal thrust, and mouth sweeps could have caused injuries to the child. Babies and small children are especially subject to rescue injuries and will need a full evaluation after such an event.
1 Or A...Severe Allergic Reaction
We all worry about allergies in our babies, and many of us fret over new foods just in case a reaction occurs. Most of the time food allergies are not life threatening and only result in oral irritation, hives, or mild stomach ailments. But, occasionally a more serious reaction occurs. It is very important to be able to recognize the early signs of an emergency situation and to react quickly to prevent a potentially fatal experience.
Usually if a severe reaction will occur, it does so in a matter of seconds or minutes and almost never more than an hour after exposure. Look out for difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, or vomiting and hives combined. 911 or another emergency number should be called immediately and epinephrine should be administered if available. Do not give the child anything orally and lay him on his back without a pillow until help arrives. Even if the symptoms subside, a trip to the ER is still warranted because they can they can come back; sometimes stronger.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National Conference of State Legislatures, Web MD, Be Well, Kevin MD , Riley Children’s Health , Everyday Health , The Scope ,The Nourished Child, The Bump, Buoy Health , Share Care , Parents