25 Things Your Child’s Pediatrician Won’t Tell You

Go behind the scenes with your child's doctor to see what they are really thinking.

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Want to avoid the wait?

Schedule your appointment for the middle of the week, and ask for the first time slot of the morning or right after lunch. Follow these secrets to finding the best doctors, according to doctors.

We'll prescribe antibiotics even though studies say not to

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Even though studies show that antibiotics for ear infections are rarely better than watching and waiting for kids over age two to get better, many of us prescribe them anyway. We want to feel like we're doing something. If I prescribe an antibiotic and a few days later your child feels better, I look like a genius. These tips will help you make the most of your next doctor's appointment.

Want to make vaccines less painful for your child?

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Ask if you can breastfeed while we give your infant his shots. Or if you have an older child, see if we can use cold spray or a numbing cream to decrease the pain. Make sure that you don't believe these 10 myths about vaccines.

Don't try to fit your second kid into your child's appointment

Don't ask if I'll take a "quick look" at the sibling who doesn't have an appointment. If your mom went with you to the gynecologist, would you ever say, "Doc, would you mind putting her on the table and giving her a quick look?" Every patient deserves a full evaluation. These are signs that your doctor is a keeper (and signs that they're not!).

We're on a tight schedule

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Sometimes we have less than 10 minutes per patient, so make the most of your time and ask about the most pressing problems first. If you have a lot of questions, request an extra-long appointment. These are the most common lies that patients tell their doctors.

We don't always follow our own advice

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Even though I tell you to let your baby cry himself back to sleep once he's older, don't ask me if I always followed that advice with my own kids. I didn't.

Always ask for a nurse in an emergency

If you have an urgent concern and the front desk tells you there are no appointments available, ask for a nurse and explain your situation. Often she or he can work you in even if the schedule indicates there's no time. These are 50 secrets nurses wish they could tell you.

Don't delay treating your child because you want me to see the symptoms

People do this a lot: "I didn't give him Tylenol, because I wanted you to feel the fever." "I didn't use the nebulizer because I wanted you to hear the wheezing." Trust me, I will believe you that the child had a fever or was wheezing. Delaying the treatment only makes your child suffer.

Don't scare your child

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As soon as you say "He doesn't like it when you look in his ears," you remind your child of the last time and set us up for another failure. Be matter-of-fact: "It's time for the doctor to look in your ears."

Beware of germs

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Sure, we have a "sick" waiting room and a "well" waiting room, but no studies show it really makes a difference. Germs are everywhere, and we can't disinfect after each patient. My advice? Bring your own toys, and if your child touches anything, give him some hand sanitizer.

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