The Pediatricians and Nurse Practitioners at Brookline Pediatrics offer a comprehensive range of care from infancy through adolescence to help your child maintain optimal health and wellness.
- Well visit care for newborns through adolescents
- Urgent care and sick visits
- Telehealth and virtual visits
- Behavioral health
- Medical home services
- Consultation and management of a wide range of conditions including, but not limited to acne, ADHD, allergies, asthma, behavioral and mental health concerns, concussions, contraception management, eczema, growth concerns, headaches, sprains and orthopedic injuries, warts, weight and nutrition
A pediatrician typically sees your newborn for his first appointment within a few days of discharge from the hospital. During the first well visit, you will get a chance to meet the pediatrician (if you haven’t already done so), as well as ask questions or address concerns you have about newborn care and your baby. The pediatrician will also perform a physical exam, observe your baby’s development and behavior, and track his growth to ensure he is getting enough to eat at the first well visit and those following.
Your pediatrician may discuss the following topics with you during your newborn’s first few appointments.
The very first stool your baby will pass is known as meconium. Newborns pass meconium over the first few days, and as the baby begins eating more, the stool will change from black meconium to dark green or yellow in color. After the first month, the number of bowel movements your infant has often slows down. Notify your pediatrician right away if your baby’s stools are white or red, as these could be signs of serious problems.
Breastmilk or formula is the only nutritional source your baby needs for the first six months of life, and the major source of nutrition throughout the first year. Your pediatrician will monitor your baby’s feeding habits and patterns during this time to ensure his growth is on track. Breastfed babies typically eat more frequently than babies who are fed formula. Breastfed newborns may nurse every two to three hours, while formula-fed newborns will eat every three to four hours during the first few weeks of life.
It is important to keep in mind that every baby has different sleep needs. Most newborns will sleep 16 to 17 hours per day, but only sleep a few hours at a time. Sleep cycles for infants generally don’t normalize until about six months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all healthy infants sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over themselves. A baby sleeping on his back rather than his side or stomach has a decreased chance of sudden infant death syndrome.
Because infants aren’t mobile yet, they shouldn’t require daily bathing so long as the diaper area is cleaned thoroughly during changes. Bathing a baby too frequently can dry out his skin. Instead, sponge bathe areas as needed, such as the skin folds where food or dirt can get trapped.
An infant’s umbilical cord should eventually dry up and fall off on its own by the time the baby is eight weeks old. In the meantime, keep the area clean and dry by giving the baby sponge baths rather than submersing him in the tub. Fold diapers below the stump area to avoid irritation. Small drops of blood are normal around the time the stump is going to fall off. Call your pediatrician, however, if you notice: active bleeding, foul-smelling yellowish discharge, or red skin surrounding the stump.
Following your newborn’s first well visit, your pediatrician will also see your baby at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 15 months, 18 months, and 2 years. These visits are important times to ask questions, observe a child’s growth and receive scheduled vaccinations.
A mother’s care is also important, so don’t forget to speak with the pediatrician if you are having postpartum issues with breastfeeding or anxiety. The pediatrician can refer you to a lactation consultant to assist with specific questions and concerns.
School & sport physicals
As our children grow, they are closely monitored by their pediatrician to ensure they hit all their developmental and growth milestones. However, older children who begin playing sports for their schools require a fresh clean bill of health from their doctor.
A physical will consist of your child’s pediatrician taking measurements of their height, weight and blood pressure. Additionally, your child’s pediatrician may also check their eyes, flexibility, heart and lungs, ears, nose and throat, and feel for abdominal abnormalities. Your pediatrician will also administer any necessary vaccinations required by the school during the physical. Family and medical history help your pediatrician gather more information to fully assess your child’s overall health.
Some schools or sports teams require that your child undergo a routine physical examination by their pediatrician before admitting them. Children go through many physical and developmental changes in their early years, making properly monitoring these changes important to your child’s health. A routine school physical rules out any major health concerns and catches any problems early.
One health matter that parents of young school-aged children should be concerned with is keeping up with immunization schedules. Due to their young immune systems, children of a certain age (up to about age 12) are more vulnerable to viruses and medical concerns compared to adults. If you’re the parent of a young child, find out everything you need to know about immunizations for children to ensure that your child is protected.
Immunizations are vaccines that help a child's immune system fight certain diseases and viruses. Children are more prone to being exposed to these viruses because they go to school with so many other young people who don't always have the best hygiene habits. Schools often request records of immunizations to ensure the safety of their young students. Vaccines are also a cost-effective way for parents to manage their children’s health care—they help families avoid the cost of expensive future procedures and hospital visits.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a schedule of recommended immunizations for children up to the age of 18. Here are some of the most common vaccines administered by your pediatrician:
- influenza (Flu)
- measles (MMR)
- meningitis (MenACWY/MenB)
- hepatitis B (HepB)
- rotavirus (RV)
- tetanus (DTaP)
- human papillomavirus (HPV for children ages nine and older)
The CDC recommends that children receive their first vaccine at birth (hepatitis B). After that you’ll be asked to bring your child in at regular intervals up to age 18 for various vaccines. Generally, expect to visit the doctor every one to two months until the child is six months old. After that, certain shots, like the influenza vaccine, are recommended yearly. Your pediatrician will provide you will a detailed schedule to follow.
When preparing for your baby’s arrival, there are many decisions that need to be made. Of those decisions, the selection of a children's doctor is one of the most important choices you will make.
Children's Doctors are medical doctors who provide care exclusively for children, usually from birth up to age 21. Children's Doctor have completed a minimum of four years of medical school and an additional three years of specialty training in pediatrics from an accredited program. They also must receive continuing education each year to stay abreast of the latest advances in pediatric care. As part of their extensive training, pediatricians are experienced in the physical, emotional, and social development of children.
Children's Doctors will see your child for well-child care visits from birth to age four. After age four, your pediatrician may continue to see your child annually for checkups. A pediatrician will also evaluate, diagnose and provide medical care whenever your child is sick.
From well-child care visits to chronic illnesses and nutritional guidance, children doctors are specially trained to care for all of your child’s health care needs. These include:
- providing physical exams
- monitoring developmental milestones (i.e. growth, behavior, and skills)
- diagnosing and treating illnesses, injuries, and other health problems
- working with parents to determine healthy lifestyle choices for children, such as nutrition and exercise
- treating life-threatening childhood conditions
- offering ongoing advice and information about child’s health, safety, nutrition and fitness needs
- referring and collaborating with other medical specialists when additional care is required beyond a children doctors expertise
While family physicians can treat children, Children's Doctors are specifically trained in the unique physical, emotional and behavioral needs of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The symptoms presented by adults are not the same as those seen in children. Therefore, by choosing a pediatrician, you are selecting a doctor who offers specialized expertise in recognizing and treating the unique health needs of a child.
Additionally, Children's Doctors often offer after-hour calling services for emergency questions and concerns, as well as flexible, same-day appointment times for sick visits. This is especially beneficial when your child is ill and you need to see your doctor right away.
Ultimately, Children's Doctors are much more than doctors; they are partners in your child’s health. From immunizations and ear infections to bedwetting, allergies, and school physicals, Children Doctors offer the specialized skills to provide tailored, comprehensive treatment for child’s ever-changing physical and emotional needs.