1. Shortlist at least three doctors before your visit.
The routine pediatrician, whom we had consulted for my baby right from the time of his birth, was traveling cross country due to some work after which he was to be self quarantined for 14 days. So, guys, be prepared with the backup. Luckily through some friends, we spoke to a few other doctors in the city. You still have to look into many things before the final appointment.
2. Choose a doctor who is within five km of your residence.
When we had started speaking to our friends to find a new doc, we got references from some very famous paediatricians who had amazing reviews on the internet as well. Looking at the current times, I personally preferred someone close to my house. We were not able to use our cars much and in the worst situation if it stops in the middle of the road then looking for any help would have been another task. Plus many areas in my city were demarcated as red containment zones. So going to the doctor’s place at the other corner of the city was not feasible for me. Hence, I chose to go to the nearest clinic.
3. Talk to the doctor over a phone call to plan your visit.
I know it’s a crazy time outside but generally, the medical practitioners are of a lot of help. Talk to them frankly.
- I spoke with my doctor about the appointment and vaccines which were to be given and had a detailed discussion on the same.
- I booked a time in the morning slot, which was comfortable for us.
- I also spoke about my baby’s general health and enquired about the problem of teething that he was going through. I also enquired about any precautions that I have to take before coming.
4. Prepare a bag with all the essentials well in advance.
Don’t ever commit the mistake of rushing out of the house with the baby unprepared. This is not the time to lose patience. Carry all the things that you may need. Since you might not be able to wash your hands, again and again, the best is to feed the baby at home and then take them out. I’ve prepared a small ready reckoner – a list of essentials that I had carried that could also be of some help to you:
- Baby’s immunization record file.
- Baby milk – bottle and formula. I’m a formula-feeding mother. In case of an emergency, I always carry some formula with me in one bottle and warm water in the other insulated bottle.
- Baby diaper – always be ready for surprise poop blasts.
- A plastic bag – to carry the spoiled diaper
- Baby wipes – for cleaning baby if by any chance baby touches anything
- A dry sheet – for placing it on the examination table at the doctor’s place.
- Extra cotton cloth – post-vaccination, cover the baby with a clean cloth, and put the previous one away.
- A pair of extra baby clothes – because there can always be surprise throw-ups. This is optional
Do not overfill your diaper bag and make it a mess. Keep the things in a sequence that you’ll need because you don’t want to touch everything every time.
5. Follow the 4S rule for extra safety.
These days before stepping outside we always remember the 3S rule: Maintaining Social Distance, Keep Sanitising Hands, and Wearing a Safety Mask. I know as adults we can do all three things but how to ensure the same rules when we are with the small baby.
So in that case include the fourth S (take Some help) because by managing everything alone you may risk the baby’s health. Don’t be shy about this.
6. Download the Arogya — Setu app and keep it ready.
Once you reach your destination keep a check on the Arogya Setu app. If in 500m there are many cases you may wish to talk to your doctor. In case you are not finding it comfortable to take your child out, then do what’s best. Make a wise decision.
7. Take the attendant’s help during the visit.
As I mentioned above to take Someone’s help while visiting the doctor. One person should always hold the baby in a cotton cloth and the attendant must do the rest of the things – locking the car door, pressing buttons in the elevator, touching handles, and opening doors wherever needed. I went with Mr. Husband and we divided the work as:
- Give a hand sanitizer spray to the attendant who’s accompanying you.
- The attendant may wish to go first and check everything at the doctor’s clinic and then you may step out with the baby. If there are any patients queue please patiently wait for your turn probably in your own cab or car.
- The Attendant should ensure sanitization of the doctor’s examination bench, table, and stethoscope before the baby is brought in contact.
- If you are paying by cash, ask the attendant to the needful. In these times we made online payments only.
8. Play peek-a-boo with the baby to comfort him.
I made all the efforts to make my monkey fall asleep during the visit. But the plan didn’t work. The toughest task for me then was to cover my baby’s face from parking until the doctor’s clinic. As baby won’t wear a mask then what to do? Mr. Husband gave the best solution, we covered the baby’s face slightly with the cotton drape till the time we reached the doctor’s place and kept the baby involved in the game. Just like the game of peek-a-boo; I see you – Something that we do at home regularly. Do not attempt to tightly cover the baby’s face, they may feel suffocated.
9. Stock baby medications to manage exigencies.
Generally, most of the children get some spikes of fever after the vaccinations, Remember to keep a stock of medicines you may need beforehand. Ask your doctor also about the same.
10. Don’t panic; stay calm
The pandemic is affecting a lot of people, but it’s time to be aware and cautious. Do not panic in any case. Check for all the precautions at the doctor’s clinic – like they must be wearing masks, shields, and gloves. There should be minimal contact between you and your baby with other patients. If you are paranoid, talk to your Pediatrician, and book a slot for the entire half an hour period and do things slowly and gradually at your own pace. There’s no need to rush.
I wrote all this because I don’t want anyone to commit any mistakes that I did. I went to one of the doctor’s place before actually getting the vaccinations. Surprisingly, the previous doctor had promised all the things but once I had reached the clinic, it was not at all satisfactory. His place was overcrowded and there was no social distancing. No one in the clinic was wearing a mask either. In haste, I had taken my child with me all alone and I went so blank and scared that I tumbled upon the stairs with the baby. Luckily nobody got hurt, but I had actually risked the life of my baby by doing all the wrong things. After that episode, I was all set to go out for the second time again and got the vaccinations done because this time I was well prepared for all the precautions that were to be taken. I hope this checklist may be of some use to any parent who’s planning the immunization for their child. All the best guys 🙂 and take care!
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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Photo credit: CDC on Unsplash