So, maybe this is a dumb question but how important is it to take your child to the doctor when they are perfectly healthy? I can see taking your newborn to make sure they're growing well etc but after they're a year old it just doesn't make complete sense to me. I guess my real question is, are there people out there who only take your children to the doctor if they're sick?
How important are "well baby check-ups"?
Not a dumb question, it does seem silly to take your kid to the doc when they're not sick.
We do well child checks for a couple reasons. One, to keep a regular relationship with the doctor so that when we do go in for sick visit, we're not strangers. My oldest has asthma and life threatening food allergies so I like that the ped is familiar with our family. Another reason is because we don't vaccinate. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but my theory is that if we keep a good relationship with the ped, show that we are keeping tabs on weight, health, etc, through WCC that will balance our lack of vaccinations and look good if CPS is ever called (I live in a philosophical exemption state). I may be slightly paranoid (which is ironic since I used to work for CPS, heh). That said, that's what we do, but other families don't do any WCC and that works for them.
There are people here who go in even less than that. Our doc is nice, but she doesn't know much about how to help the kids get well when they're sick, so our visits to the pedi have included: me wanting vision screening for the kids (caught my son's farsightedness, yay doc!), when we needed referrals, and once when I wanted another opinion on my son's legs/ankles (alignment), and not much else.
I've done it both ways, not had a pedi, and just called my ND when we rarely had a problem, and then done the regular visits. For me, I'm sticking with the regular appointments. All my children have ended up with some SNs, I never imagined that my children would be any less then perfect, but that isn't always the way it turns out. There is a part of me that feels that we might of gotten help sooner with DD1 had we actually seen a doc, but then I still had to fight my way through the system so who knows. I really like our doc, she is someone that I would hang out with as a friend so the appointments are not something I dread. And because our doc has really gotten to know us over the years, I have to say I get special treatment. I can call in and say x is going on with child A, I need such and such, and I get it, no hassle and no appointment needed. She has fought for us way too many times to count, to get services for my children that were denied, medical treatment that wasn't available in my area, called in personal favors from other docs, she calls me form her house on her days off to check on a child if there is something serious going on.
I'm sure if my children never needed anything extra, referrals, routine meds, etc... then just doing sick visits would be fine. A sick visit is usually a very short appointment, here they are 10 minutes, no time to actually discuss anything besides what is happening that day. I don't discuss what I consider to be child rearing advice with docs, PLing, night time issues, etc.. so I'm not going in for things like that.
We don't have a pedi but we see a family practitioner that treats all if us. We do well child visits once a year because we have a family history of asthma, eczema and a number of other allergies. Our FP know our entire family's history and has been with us and helped us thru infertility, miscarriages, depression. He delivered our son. He has helped navigate the tricky waters of SPD and other diagnosis with our son. I love him because he is holistic first but will treat with western medicine if needed.
But we rarely have gone when any of us are actually sick. Knock on wood our son has never had any major illnesses. He has had antibiotics maybe twice in his 9.5 years. Since our FP takes phone calls I could always call him if our sons' fever really spiked or if he seemed off. Most of the times the basic childhood illnesses (colds, flu, ear infections, stomach bugs) just need to take there course so I never felt the need to run to the Dr for every fever, sniffle or cough. But I like knowing that if I needed a Dr had one who really knew us and our beliefs.
So are WC visits needed? No. You need to do what feels right for your family.
We do it. It's not that my kids are unhealthy, but they do have some things that need to be addressed. DS1 has eye issues, so he sees a pediatric ophthalmologist regularly. DS2 had some oral issues and eventually ended up seeing an ENT to have them repaired. Things like that.
I also just feel better knowing someone is checking them out. Checking their heart, their hemoglobin, their urine for things I can't 'see' wrong with them.