5 Questions Oregon Parents Should Ask the Pediatrician During A Well-Child Visit

A well-child visit is the best time to talk to your child’s pediatrician about their growth, development, and behavior. Whether or not you have specific concerns you want to address, it’s important to use this opportunity to get valuable healthcare advice for your child.

We know that in the heat of the moment it can be difficult to know exactly what questions to discuss. Today we’re sharing the top 5 questions we recommend parents ask during their child’s visit.

The next time your kiddo comes in for an appointment, keep this list handy so you can make sure to get the information you need. You’ll walk away feeling confident in your child’s care and equipped to manage their day-to-day health and wellbeing.


1. What Developmental Milestones Should I Be Seeing?

Developmental milestones are behaviors and physical skills that a child exhibits as they grow. These milestones develop in sequential fashion, meaning that depending on the age range of your child, there are certain behaviors or skills he or she should be mastering.

During your well-child visit, your pediatrician will examining your child for signs of development in five primary areas.

  1. Cognition – Learning and solving problems
  2. Social and Emotional Behavior – Interacting with others and exercising self control
  3. Speech and Language Ability – Understand and using language
  4. Fine Motor Skills – Using small muscles, particularly hands and fingers
  5. Gross Motor Skills – Using large muscles such as those for walking and running

As your child grows, there are specific behaviors you can look for as a sign of appropriate development. Below is a list of a couple common behaviors you can look for at various stages of your child’s life.

  • Infant – Babbling, smiling, sitting without support, rolling over, ability to pull self to standing, understanding the word “no”
  • Toddler – Ability to feed self, draw a line, run and walk, recognize colors correctly, dress self, share toys, understand simple rules and commands
  • Preschooler – Ability to draw circles and squares, ability to bounce and catch a ball, can hop on one foot, understand time concepts, ability to recognize some written words
  • School-Age – Losing baby teeth, developed reading skills, able to follow several directions in a row
  • Adolescent – Reaching adult height, weight, and sexual maturity, body hair growth, ability to understand abstract concepts

Keep an eye out for these behaviors and then use your well-child visit to address any concerns. Just remember every child is different. Your pediatrician will outline the specific behaviors and milestones you should be seeing and help you understand any areas of concern.


2. Is My Child’s Diet and Weight Okay?

Childhood obesity is a large and growing concern, so understanding how to encourage healthy eating habits and weight is very important at every stage of your child’s life.

When your child is an infant, you need to ensure he or she is feeding correctly and gaining weight appropriately. As your child grows, focusing on the quality of food you give your child is important. By age two, no matter how healthy your child’s weight appears, your doctor should give your child a BMI screening during well-child visits and may also check blood pressure.

Talk to your doctor about what types of meals and snacks your child is currently eating and whether or not you need to make any changes. For example, some things to think about and discuss include:

  • Are you incorporating enough greens and fruits into your child’s diet?
  • Should you be paying more attention to portion sizes?
  • Is your child staying away from sugary drinks and snacks?

You should also pay attention to how your child acts after eating certain foods and bring up any interesting behavior with your doctor.

Important Note: Be careful about discussing this topic in front of your child, especially as he or she ages. If you have concerns about your child’s weight, ask the doctor for a time when you can talk over the phone or if you can quickly step into another room.


3. Is My Child Getting Enough Sleep?

Inadequate sleep threatens a child’s healthy development and growth. This is true at every stage of your child’s life, so whether you have a baby, toddler, young child, or teen, paying attention to sleep patterns is important.

There are common symptoms of not enough sleep, like yawing and fluttering eyes. But other signs aren’t as obvious. These may include:

  • Being cranky or fussy on a regular basis
  • Not talking
  • Snoring
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Lack of motivation
  • Struggling at school
  • Severe mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate

If you notice any odd behaviors or are worried about how much sleep your child is getting, bring it up during your well-child visit. Even if you don’t’ suspect any issues, ask your pediatrician about how much sleep your child should be getting at this stage of life to ensure he or she is right on track.


4. Tell Me About the Vaccines My Child is Receiving Today

A good pediatrician will always explain what vaccines are scheduled and why they are important. However, don’t be afraid to ask for more information. An informed parent will be better prepared to manage the health of their child.

Here are a few specific questions you might ask about the vaccines your child receives during a well-child visit.

  • What does this vaccine protect against?
  • What’s my child’s upcoming schedule for vaccines?
  • What viruses are going around in Portland right now?


5. I Heard Some New Parenting Advice, What’s Your Take?

There is so much parenting advice available today that sometimes it’s difficult to discern what’s really important. If you’ve recently heard some advice related to the health of your child, you should bring it up with your pediatrician. Always avoid making drastic health changes or decisions for your child without first consulting your pediatrician.

Lastly, remember that your child’s health extends beyond just their physical wellbeing. Your kiddo’s psychological and emotional health is equally important. Don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician about how you can nurture every aspect of your child’s health – for instance, ways to support and encourage your child, how you can help them become interested in learning, or the best way to play with your child.

Your pediatrician has many years of experience working with parents and children throughout Oregon and will have valuable advice to share.


Schedule A Well-Child Appointment at Oregon Pediatrics

Here at Oregon Pediatrics, our doctors always take time to explain your child’s overall health and answer questions. We want to make sure you understand any diagnosis or why certain treatments or recommendations are being prescribed. So please, never hesitate to ask!

If you don’t have regular well-child check-ups already scheduled, give us a call. We have pediatric offices throughout Portland and are dedicated to partnering with parents and families like you to provide the best care possible.


“We regularly see Dr. Heather Long and she has been wonderful so far! She answers all my questions with confidence and makes me feel better about the million things I want to know. She’s gentle, knowledgeable and just overall great.”

– Amanda R.

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