By Gail O’Connor
Once your baby has been in your life for just a short time, you’ll be able to recite certain details about her by heart, from how much she weighed at birth to the day she beamed her first smile. But in an emergency, would you know the correct names of any medications she has recently taken? Or if a physician asked, could you recall which lab tests she’s received, and their results?
While your pediatrician has this and other important information in your baby’s medical chart, the chart won’t always be immediately available to the medical professional who may need it. “In this day and age, babies are often examined by another pediatrician, or in the emergency room or when out of town on vacation—it seems babies often get sick away from home,” explains Marjorie Hogan, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and director of Pediatric Medical Education at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Someday, Hogan anticipates, most electronic medical records will be in wide use and will help make information more readily accessible. But until then, maintaining your own record of your baby’s budding health history can keep you prepared for the unexpected, as well as help you share insightful information with your pediatrician at your next well visit. How you keep these records doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a system that’s simple enough to work for you; even a single notebook and a folder or binder for paperwork can suffice.
To get started, plan to record the following information during your baby’s first six months of life.