Before your baby is even born, you will have already chosen a pediatrician. Once your bundle of joy has arrived, the doctor’s visits begin immediately…on the first day! From there, your pediatrician will be closely monitoring your baby over those first few weeks. You may feel that you are at the doctor’s office all of the time. But these visits are critical to your baby.
No matter what, it’s vital to keep every one of your baby’s doctor’s appointments. Your child’s progress can be monitored way better if they’re seen regularly. During all those visits, your doctor will be checking for the following:
How’s the baby feeding?
Appointments are great ways to indicate the feeding patterns for breast and bottle-fed infants. For breastfed infants, doctors will analyze the frequency and duration of feedings. For bottle-fed babies, there are indicators for amounts and frequency of feedings based on age. If a mom is struggling with breastfeeding, a doctor can help support her and find alternatives or adjustments.
How’s the baby growing?
Growth is a big factor in appointments and determining if your baby is steadily growing rather than being stunted or growing too rapidly. Your doctor will record a baby’s weight, height, and head circumference to track its growth. Most babies follow a curve of growth, increasing weight, and length at a steady pace. Any deviations could be a problem like a lack of nutrients or absorption of calories.
How’s your baby developing?
At every visit, your doctor will provide a comprehensive exam of your baby and check for any abnormalities. They’ll be screened for congenital dysplasia, a hip-dislocation condition, and the umbilicus will be checked. A physical exam will be comprised of all the systems being checked including heart and lungs, bones and joints, eyes, abdomen, nervous system, genitals, and skin.
Do the parents have up-to-date safety information?
It’s important for parents to share information about how they’re doing at home with baby-proofing. Are they preventing burns by turning down the thermostat, are they putting away toxic and poisonous substances in a high cupboard? Do they have a proper car seat safely installed? The doctor will most likely bring up the issue of sleep as most pediatricians advise that babies up to 6 months old sleep in a crib or bassinet. To decrease the risk of SIDS, cribs are the best option, as well as breastfeeding, not smoking or drinking, and avoiding recreational or sedating drugs.
How are the parents handling everything?
Dealing with crying can be difficult, especially if there are no effective ways to soothe the baby. If there are concerns over the baby’s safety, a doctor can arrange for a public health nurse to visit the home.
Write down your questions
Write down any and all questions you have and ask at the beginning of the appointment when’s a good time to ask them. The most critical piece of advice could be brought up at the end of the visit.