Routine Check Ups for Baby

Check ups, or well visits as they are often called by doctors and insurance companies, are an important part of your baby’s first few years. Your baby’s doctor will be monitoring his growth, development, and general health, as well as keeping him healthy with regular immunizations against dangerous diseases. Catching any problems early is vital to treating them successfully, so make sure your baby attends all his scheduled well visits.

When to Go

Every doctor does things a little differently, but the standard visit times for a baby are at two weeks, at four weeks, at 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 months old and then every three months until baby reaches a year and a half old. Some doctors schedule a 21 month well visit, but many do not see baby again until two years old. After two, check ups will become a yearly occasion.

Be sure to ask your baby’s doctor ahead of time what the visit schedule looks like. Especially if the doctor is busy, it’s a good idea to schedule as many appointments ahead of time as you can, to ensure your baby gets in for a visit at the right time. This way, you will also know when the appointments are so that you can plan accordingly.

What to Expect

Most well visits will follow the same pattern, with a few additional procedures at certain check ups. At the beginning of the visit, the baby will be weighed, measured, and her temperature will be checked, probably by a nurse. Many parents have an impulse to give the baby a medication such a Tylenol prior to the appointment to dull the pain of any shots she might receive, but avoid doing this. It could cause a false temperature reading at the office, and baby should not receive immunizations if she has a fever.

After your baby’s stats have been recorded, the doctor will see her for an examination. The standard physical examination will include checking baby’s eyes, ears and mouth, as well as examining the genitals for normal development. The doctor will listen to your baby’s heart and lungs, and may also feel baby’s tummy, spine, and check her hips by bicycling her legs.

The doctor will have a number of questions for you regarding your baby’s eating, sleeping, and elimination habits. You might want to make a record for a few days prior to the appointment of how much and how often she eats, her sleep routine, and how many wet and dirty diapers she has in a day, so that you don’t have to remember on the spot. The doctor will also ask some developmental questions to be sure baby is on track. After all of the doctor’s questions have been answered, you should have an opportunity to present any concerns or questions you may have. If the doctor doesn’t ask, don’t be afraid to speak up! This is your chance to find out what you need to know about your baby’s health and development.

When the exam is complete, the nurse will return to give your baby any necessary shots. You should be presented with an information sheet detailing what shot she is receiving, why, and what the potential side effects are. If you have any questions or concerns, address them prior to the shot be administered.

At some check ups there will be additional tests or procedures. A blood test for anemia is usually performed at either nine months or one year. At 18 months, you may be asked to fill out a questionnaire screening for autism. Depending on the doctor, there may be other differences as well.

Being prepared for baby’s check ups will make them go smoothly and ensure you get the most out of each visit.

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