Even if your newborn baby is healthy, you still need to schedule a visit to their pediatrician. The first two years of your child’s life are critical growing years. This timeframe is when your child’s development takes its most significant leaps. The American Academy of Pediatrics has set well-baby checkups to occur at specific times during your child’s first two years. The following will help you understand when to take your baby to the doctor and what to expect at each visit.
What happens during my baby’s doctor visits?
Your baby’s pediatrician will want to track your child’s development and make sure it is progressing normally. They will want your input during these visits by letting them know how your baby is doing at home. Keep track of when your child starts to sit independently, and the first time they roll over on their own. These are important developmental steps for newborns.
At each exam, your child will be checked from head-to-toe including eyes, mouth, skin, heart, lungs, and ears to ensure they are healthy. The pediatrician will want to keep a close eye on your newborn’s soft spot, otherwise known as a fontanel. This area generally disappears between the 12th and 18th months, when your baby’s skull bones have fully fused together. The shape of your child’s head will also be monitored to make sure it is rounding out properly.
The first visit
The first exam, usually performed in the hospital, is where the pediatrician should look for normal bodily functions in your newborn. These include reflexes, hip stability, alertness, and skin tone. These professionals want to ensure your child is healthy and responding well to their new world.
Exam after leaving the hospital
Three to five days after you bring your newborn home, you should schedule a visit to the doctor. At this visit, the pediatrician will begin using the growth chart to monitor your baby’s growth rate. During this appointment, your newborn will have a metabolic/hemoglobin screening if it wasn’t done at the hospital before you left.
One month exam
The one-month appointment is where all the basic checks are completed. The doctor will perform measurements and do developmental surveillance, as well as do a routine physical exam. There are other tests they may want to perform, including a tuberculosis test. The pediatrician will also provide your child with his or her second dose of hepatitis B vaccine.
With the two month checkup, the pediatrician will examine your baby’s basic developmental growth and make sure growth patterns are within a normal range. This checkup will be where your child receives many of their immunization shots, so be sure to prepare beforehand.
A physical exam will be conducted and charted to measure how their growth pattern is developing at this stage as well. The second dose of the two-month vaccines will also be delivered during this visit. Another general exam will be done to make sure your baby is still healthy. The pediatrician will also ask questions about your baby meeting certain milestones, like being able to push up and sit without assistance.
The standard growth checks will be done to ensure development is still on track, and the third dose of necessary vaccines will be administered. An oral health test may also be included during this checkup as your child may have already gotten their first tooth.
Ninth month visit
Formal developmental screening may be conducted during this exam. You may be asked to play with your child as well. Playing with your baby will show the pediatrician how he or she moves and behaves and will give insight into their development.
One year visit
This checkup will have your doctor conducting all the standard measurements and administering the final hepatitis B dose. The third treatment of other immunizations will also be given during this visit. Other tests that may be done include a lead screening, a TB test, and possibly even an oral health check. The pediatrician may suggest another visit when your baby turns fifteen months of age for additional vaccines.
The eighteen-month appointment has your child going through the same developmental checks as well as an Autism screening. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a group of disorders affecting the developmental skills of a child’s behavior, their social skills, and how well they can communicate. Any immunizations that have not been completed will be done during this visit.
The procedures followed for the past two years will again be repeated. There may be other tests performed such as a hemoglobin screening or a lead screening. The pediatrician will also be interested in how your child’s mind is growing, so expect questions about their vocabulary and processing skills.
If you have questions regarding your baby’s health, contact the office of Dr. John Young in Amarillo, Texas. Dr. John Young and his team are committed to providing the best clinical experience for you and your child. Call us today at (806) 354-0404 ext. 3330 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our Services. You can also visit our office in person at 1500 S. Coulter St., Suite #3 in Amarillo.