Is the Stork on Its Way to Your House?

Is the Stork on Its Way to Your House?

If you’re an expectant parent, you probably have a few questions on your mind right now. Today, Dr. Mandal addresses a few of the more common questions that first-time parents have.

How early should I start looking for a pediatrician?

I’d start looking for a pediatrician in the third trimester. Earlier than that in the pregnancy, you want to focus on yourself and your own health and growing a healthy baby, so don’t worry about finding a pediatrician until the first two trimesters are over. You do, however, want to find a pediatrician before your baby is born so that you can schedule an appointment with them once you’re discharged from the hospital. You’ll want to get your newborn into the doctor’s office within 24–48 hours of being discharged from the hospital to make sure everything is going smoothly.

What should I look for in a pediatrician?

First of all, it’s all about the fit. Just like when you meet any other human being in your life, you’ll want to talk to them and see if the pediatrician is a good match for you and your family. I do prenatal visits every day of the week, and new parents constantly interview me to see if I’m going to be the best pediatrician for them. A lot of times they come with a list of questions that are very specific to them and their needs. Those are great. A lot of times, if they’re not sure what to ask, I just tell them about my education, my philosophy on life and children, and how I can best plan on keeping their child healthy and safe (and, hopefully, out of my office because prevention is our #1 goal as pediatricians).

Also, try finding a pediatrician either close to your home, close to work, or close to daycare. Unfortunately, kids get sick, and that’s always unexpected and inconvenient. Having a pediatrician close by will make your life that much easier.

Which toys/activities are good for my baby’s development and which are bad for my baby’s development?

The best things for your baby’s development are anything that involves interacting with another person on a regular basis, like being read to, talked to, or sung to. There is simply nothing greater for their development.

Now, having said that, babies are high maintenance enough that it’s just not always possible. Toys that incorporate music, have different colors, or have motion are very stimulating for the baby and are what seem to work best. There aren’t really any bad things in terms of toys for a baby unless it appears to be a safety risk or is anything that involves a screen. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) really advocates limiting any type of screen time for infants and toddlers. The AAP supports the idea that human interaction is a much more effective way of helping your child’s development.

Children develop so much during those first few years of life and learn things constantly, and a lot of times, it’s by trial and error. But during that time, children can get hurt. That’s why we talk about childproofing. You have to allow the child to explore and try new things, whether it be crawling, walking, or climbing, but keep it as safe as possible. So for example, if your baby is going to climb on something, have them climb on a soft cushion (that’s shorter than their own height) on a carpeted floor. It’s all about safety in general while allowing the child to explore.

If you have questions or would like to discuss any concerns you have regarding your children, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at