Whether you are waddling through the final weeks of your pregnancy or have just given birth, you likely agree that nothing is more exciting than anticipating your baby’s firsts: first smile, first coo, and first time meeting your family, and more.
Keep in mind though that there’s one more “first” that is central to ensuring your baby’s health and well-being—their first appointment with their pediatrician. This usually takes place within two to three days after being discharged from the hospital, but the timing may change if you have complications during delivery.
The information provided below will give you a better understanding of what to expect at your child’s appointment with their pediatrician.
Examination and Screening
Your doctor’s staff will likely start with taking measurements of your baby’s height, weight, and head circumference. Your doctor will then carry out a thorough examination to identify any potential health concerns that newborns can be susceptible to, and ensures there are no signs of developmental issues.
The examination will likely involve the following:
- Listening to your baby’s heart and feeling their pulse;
- Testing your baby’s reflexes, and their ability to grasp, move, and respond and react accordingly;
- Checking their eyes, ears, hips, limbs, skin, and nose;
- Testing their hearing;
- Inspecting your baby’s umbilical cord.
Your pediatrician will provide your baby with the necessary vaccines, such as a hepatitis B shot if they did not get them before leaving the hospital.
Your pediatrician will also discuss with you your baby’s vaccination schedule, which is a plan that doctors follow to ensure children get the correct vaccines at the specified age.
Advice and Routine Care
Your first visit with your pediatrician is an important opportunity for you to ask questions, get your concerns addressed, and seek expert advice. Your appointment allows you to gain as much information as possible to help you care for your baby.
Areas that your pediatrician will discuss with you may include the following:
- Feeding– such as frequency of feeds, help with any breastfeeding problems, information about different types of formulas, how to burp your baby, tackle problems (e.g., colic), etc.
- Bowel and bladder movements – ensuring your baby has normal urine output and regular bowel movements
- Sleeping – any concerns about the amount of sleep your baby is getting, whether to wake your baby for a feed, advice on sleep positions, etc.
- Bathing – advice on getting keeping the umbilical cord clean, on which products are safe to use, etc.
The Importance of Regular Wellness Checkups
Preventive care, such as regular well-child visits and vaccinations, is an important way of keeping track of your child’s health and development throughout their childhood and teenage years. It is, therefore, vital to take your child to every scheduled visit, to ensure vaccinations are up to date and that any potential health problems are detected and treated early on.
After your baby’s first wellness checkup, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends visits at 2 weeks, 1 month,2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, and 30 months of age, with annual visits thereafter, up to age 21.
Pediatrician in The Woodlands and Spring, TX
At Northwoods Pediatric Center, P.A., our board-certified pediatricians pride themselves on their unwavering commitment to improving and advancing the health of children in The Woodlands, Spring, and their neighboring areas. We live up to such commitment by providing comprehensive, high-quality healthcare services—which include well-child exams, vaccinations, nutrition counseling, and hearing screenings— for children of all ages. We also delight in providing parents with useful information, which we believe will empower them to make the best decisions about their children’s health care.