What Will Happen At Well-Baby Check Ups During Your Baby's First Year?

Of course you need to see the pediatrician when your baby is sick, but well-baby check-ups are also very important....
Of course you need to see the pediatrician when your baby is sick, but well-baby check-ups are also very important. Frequent check-ups when your baby is healthy are vital because at these appointments your baby's pediatrician will be able to monitor your baby's growth and development and make sure your baby is on schedule with basic milestones. Most babies will have many checkup during their first year; the first usually happening the first few days to weeks after birth. Here's what you can expect at a typical well-baby exam...


BASICS: Almost all well-baby checkups start with basics such as measurements of your baby's length, weight and head circumference. Measurements will be plotted on a growth chart so you and the doctor can see how your baby's size compares with that of other babies the same age. Don't fret if your baby doesn't fit neatly onto the chart though - most babies won't. A better indicator of good health is that your baby continues to have steady growth throughout the year. PHYSICAL EXAM: Your baby will have a total physical exam and this is a great time to mention any concerns you have. Areas that should be examined include...
  • Head - including checking soft spots (fontanels) on your baby's head and the shape of your baby's head.
  • Ears - Your pediatrician will check for fluid or infection in your baby's ears and may run some hearing tests - mainly at this age hearing tests are simply watching for response when your baby is exposed to noise such as a voice or music.
  • Eyes - Usually this includes a check for blocked tear ducts and any unusual eye discharge. The pediatrician may also look inside your baby's eyes with an ophthalmoscope or track eye movements with a light.
  • Mouth - The interior of your baby's mouth can reveal oral thrush (a yeast infection many babies get - no worries it's easy to treat. As your baby grows the doctor may look for signs of teeth.
  • Skin - In newborns various skin issues may pop up from birthmarks to rashes to jaundice. Your doctor will check for all of these and advise treatment or not.
  • Heart and lungs - Listening to your baby's heart and lungs with a stethoscope can help detect any abnormal heart or lung sounds or target breathing problems.
  • Abdomen - Baby tummies are checked mainly to identify an umbilical hernia or any unusual pain or tenderness.
  • Hips and legs - Doctors check legs, joints and hips to make sure there are no problems that could hinder walking.
  • Genitalia - A general inspection of your baby's genitalia is necessary to make sure there are no bad rashes, tenderness, infection, or other problem. If you have a boy who was circumcised, your doctor will likely take a look to make sure the cut is healing well and also check to see if both testes have descended into the scrotum (which sometimes won't happen for a while).
DEVELOPMENT: Motor skills and general baby development are important so your pediatrician will ask about them, but keep in mind that babies are different, so your little one may reach specific milestones sooner or later than his peers. To learn more about milestones your pediatrician may ask about read the following... IMMUNIZATIONS: At well-baby check-ups your baby will get immunizations. While you don't have to have your baby immunized, it's important to weight the pros and cons. Immunizations help protect against some very icky illnesses. OTHER ISSUES: Most doctors and nurses try to fit in a decent amount of tips at well-baby exams. You may hear about baby safety, car seats, not smoking in the house, nutritional topics including breastfeeding, SIDS and much more. If you have questions it can help to take in a notepad with said questions on it so you don't forget to ask. You'll also need to schedule your next well-baby check-up before you leave. Bonus - make sure you find the best pediatrician.

Tags: baby milestones first baby check-up immunizations well baby check up well baby exam

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