Visiting with the Pediatrician – What to Expect
In the first year of your baby’s life, you will be visiting your pediatrician about every other month, for well check-ups and immunizations. Here’s a rundown of how those visits go, and approximately how often you’ll need to visit.
Two week visit
Some doctors schedule a visit earlier than two weeks, but most pediatricians begin at the two week mark. Your baby’s weight, length and head circumference will be measured, and you can expect this at every well baby checkup during this first year. They will also do a general exam and check the baby’s fontanel. One thing the doctor particularly interested in at this checkup is baby’s weight gain. Your baby will typically lose some weight right after birth, so at this checkup the doctor will want to ensure that baby is gaining back the lost weight. They will also ask about eating habits, how often the baby is producing wet and dirty diapers, and about how the baby is sleeping.
One month visit
This visit will be largely the same as the previous visit, focusing on baby’s development, and on yours and baby’s adjustment at home.
Two month visit
Baby will be checked again, and immunizations will usually start at the two month mark. The first dose of the DPT – (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine is usually administered at this visit. For more information about when immunizations are administered, see the chapter on this subject.
From this point on, you can expect well baby visits every other month, until your baby is a year old. There will routine physical exams, and questions about your baby’s development. For the first year of life, the baby will receive immunizations at nearly every visit. These visits are not only important opportunities for the doctor to check on your baby’s progress, but are also opportunities for you to ask questions and gain reassurance about how things are going, so take advantage. For instance, if you are concerned that your child has not reached a development milestone, these visits are a good time to discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor will also be looking for these development milestones, and will alert you if there is an issue. It’s helpful to write your questions down as you think of them, so you don’t forget.
In addition, be sure to discuss your doctor’s preferences on calling when your child is sick. For example, is there a 24 hour on-call nursing service for questions? Or, is the on call only for emergencies. Your relationship with your pediatrician is critical to maintaining your child’s health and your peace of mind. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and call on your doctor as often as needed to ensure your comfort.