With 2 kids under my belt, I like to think I have mastered the art of the doctor visit so it is less painful for all of us.
First, never, ever make an appointment during nap time unless copious amounts of blood and/or vomit are the reasons for the visit. Tired, cranky kids do NOT like to strip naked in a cold exam room and be poked and prodded. I am the voice of experience on this one.
Second, bring lots of snacks, drinks, books and toys. Snacks will distract your child during the long wait in the world's most boring waiting room (unless your kids like to play on the germ-covered toys, thus assuring more future visits). Plus, the other moms and dad will think you are a fabulous and well-organized mom. Double bonus!
Third, write down ALL your questions and concerns in a notebook before you go. This is vital with newborn visits because you will be sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. Our pediatrician nodded and patted my hand when I asked the same question 3 times in one visit. You will not remember all the information they throw at you. They will give you lots of numbers - height, wight, head circumference, etc. They will give you a laundry list of do's don't's, maybe's, should be's. Unless you have a photographic memory and a child who sleeps from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. you will need to write these things down if you stand a snowball's chance of remembering any of them. This is another one I learned the hard way. Oh, and put the notebook in the diaper bag so you remember to bring the notebook. If it's forgotten, find a way to make it hubby's fault. Since you just gave birth to a large, peeing, pooping, crying human, he will take the fall for this one.
Fourth and vital info NOT to be forgotten- bring extra diapers and clothes. They will be needed. They strip kids buck naked to do stuff to them. And, the kid WILL pee and poop through their clothes while they are there just because they can. Taking your kid out of the office wrapped in paper towels is humiliating and a risk you do not want to take with a car seat. People will look, judge, snicker and comment about your (bad) parenting.
Fifth handy tip, actually make their yearly well-visit appointments. It's a tad embarrassing to schedule a 2 year well visit when the kid is edging on his 3rd or 4th birthday.