What to Expect at Baby’s First Check Up

Your newborn will probably be due for his first in-office visit with his doctor at two to four weeks old. This first check up is a great time to address any concerns you might have as a new mother, and also an exciting chance to see how your little one is growing and changing.

At this visit, your baby will be weighed and have his head circumference and length measured. Then the doctor will give your newborn a thorough physical, and ask you some questions about his progress. Depending on your baby’s vaccination schedule, he may be due for immunization shots at this visit.

What the Doctor is Looking For

Your baby’s doctor will check his eyes, ears and mouth, and listen to his heart and lungs to make sure everything appears and sounds normal. The doctor will also check baby’s genitals to ensure everything is normal and also to check the progress of healing if your baby boy was circumcised. Next, the doctor will lay baby on his back and bicycle his legs to check for normal hip function.

Your baby’s weight and height will be recorded on a growth chart, which will track his progress throughout childhood. You will probably be given a percentile into which your baby falls for height, weight, and head circumference. The percentile simply tells you what percentage of babies fall above or below your baby at that age for these measurements. New parents are often concerned about percentiles, but there is no reason to be! As long as your baby continues to follow his growth curve, the percentiles are nothing to worry about.

Questions the Doctor May Ask You

Much of the discussion will revolve around baby’s sleep and feeding patterns. The doctor will want to know how often baby feeds; you will be asked how long she stays on the breast if nursing, or how much she takes in a bottle if using formula. Although it might seem like a strange question, your doctor will want to know how many wet and dirty diapers your baby has every day. This is important to ensure baby is getting enough food and liquid. You will also be asked how long her stretches of sleep are, and what type of pattern they follow.

In addition to checking her ears and eyes, the doctor will ask you some questions regarding sight and hearing. You will likely be asked whether your baby turns her head at the sound of your voice, and if she startles at loud noises. Sight questions might include whether baby makes eye contact with you or follows an object with her eyes. These questions will help your baby’s doctor to determine that your baby’s eyes and ears are functioning properly. Finally, you will be asked about baby’s strength and gross motor skills, such as ability to lift her head.

Questions You May Have

When your baby’s doctor has completed the examination, it will be your turn to address any concerns you might have. It’s a good idea to keep a list of the questions that have come up since bringing your baby home, so that you don’t forget what you wanted to ask. Don’t be afraid to speak up even if you think a question is silly. Your baby’s doctor is there to help you to understand your new baby’s development.

This first visit will set the tone for all your baby’s future check ups, which will follow the same pattern. Your doctor will probably want to see baby again at two months old for her next check up.

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