When your toddler is afraid of the doctor

Healthcare   |   Age: 1 year 9 months

When your toddler is afraid of the doctor
Fear of the doctor is a common problem, among toddlers and adults alike. Doctor's visits can be infrequent enough that you don't have to do much more than grit your teeth and get your baby through them if she's afraid, but for her health and for your own state of mind, it's often best in the long run to address any fears that your baby has about visiting the doctor while she is still young.

The doctor can be scary for a number of reasons, from the unfamiliarity of the setting and unfamiliarity with the doctor as a person to the pain that your baby might associate with the visit. If she has strong memories of getting her last round of shots, for example, that might have an impact on how she feels about the doctor now. Sometimes parents even contribute to the problem by hinting at the idea that the trip might be scary, or by being nervous about their toddlers' reactions. To help your baby have a better time at the doctor's office, there are a few things you can do before, during, and after the visit.

Before the visit

You can start by preparing your baby for the visit ahead of time.

During the visit

Once you're in the doctor's office, there are a few things you can do to make your baby more comfortable.

After the visit

You might remember getting pretzel sticks or stickers after your own appointments when you were young, and in this same way, your baby definitely deserves a small reward for braving the appointment. your baby's pediatrician may provide this reward for you, but if they don't, it doesn't hurt to have something tasty or something shiny stashed in your back pocket to offer your baby at the end of the appointment. This also gives her something to look forward to after the next visit.

Another thing to keep in mind is how your baby gets along with the doctor. Obviously, some parts of the visit won't be pleasant no matter who the doctor is. But if you don't feel like the doctor makes it a point to keep your baby relaxed or comfortable, you can always consider bringing your baby to a different doctor next time. Once you find someone that your baby likes, you can stick with them for a long time.

The bottom line

No matter what you do, you probably won't have your baby begging you to bring her to the doctor's waiting room in your free time. A little anxiety about visits to the doctor is normal, but you can help your baby develop some peace of mind about these visits, which will encourage her to take care of her health for the rest of her life.


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