1. Introduction

After that first time, they’ll want to see your baby as well. The specific schedule might vary, such as my midwife practice had the 2-day visit, a 2-week visit (to check your baby’s weight), a 4-week visit, and the so-called two-month visit, which was actually scheduled at 8 to 9 weeks. Some pediatricians prefer to see you weekly after your baby is born; most, though, schedule a two-week and the two-month visit. You and your partner may want to tag along with your baby for this appointment, and the two of you may want to see the pediatrician at the same time, to ask any questions you may have postpartum (you will be entering or have already entered the postpartum check-in 6 weeks postpartum).

Shortly after your baby’s debut, it’s time to think about scheduling his first doctor visit. Initially, it’s a bit more routine for mom; doctors want to check in to be sure that postnatal care is going well, and nurse-midwives who don’t visit you in the hospital will want to see you for your 2-day postpartum visit. At this appointment, you’ll have a chance to address any of the issues that might be causing you concern, review the details of the birth, and also to have any pressing baby questions answered.

1.1. Purpose of the Guide

Congratulations! You just added a new little person to your family. Whether you are a first-time parent or a pro, this guide will help you navigate the many doctor’s appointments that are scheduled for your baby during the first few weeks of life. This guide is designed for U.S. parents. The information and guidelines may vary if you live outside of the United States. There are links at the end of this guide to resources outside of the U.S., and World Health Organization guidelines. If you are an expectant parent, you will want to read the information about doctor visits and tests before your baby is born, as well. Knowing what to expect will help you and your baby have many healthy weeks and months ahead. The guide focuses on what is considered a standard schedule for healthy, full-term babies. Children who are premature or who have health problems that require additional monitoring will have different schedules of follow-up visits and health tests.

2. Choosing a Pediatrician

You want to start by asking people you trust about who their child’s doctor is. Family and friends who share your thinking can be a good place to start. Online reviews and health grades for providers can be helpful. However, don’t rule out a doctor just because one or two people report having a bad experience online. Try to set up interviews with the pediatricians you think might be a good fit. Some things you should discuss with the pediatrician are their approach to common issues (getting a baby to sleep, breastfeeding concerns, vaccinations, etc.) You should also ask if the doctor is accessible in off-hours via telephone or email too. When you have a baby, every cold can feel like an emergency. Being able to talk to the doctor off-hours can give you peace of mind.

Picking a pediatrician can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s a decision that requires a lot of research and effort but is absolutely doable. Most healthcare professionals recommend that you find a pediatrician while you’re still pregnant. There are quite a few perks to getting a pediatrician before your baby is born. One major one is that you’re able to talk to different doctors, and you can find one whose philosophy matches your own. If the pediatrician isn’t a good fit, you have time to find another person. Getting a pediatrician sooner also means that your baby’s doctor can see them in the hospital after they’re born. Finally, finding a pediatrician before the baby’s birth means that you’re ready. By the time your baby gets sick, you have a plan in place.

2.1. Factors to Consider

If you have not done so before the baby is born, pick out a pediatrician and schedule an interview. At the interview, ask for the pediatrician’s thoughts about your developing family and baby. Think about what you want from a pediatrician and also about what your baby might need. Bring a list of questions, but also take notice of whether the office hours are convenient, where the doctor’s office is located, and how the staff seems to interact with the patients. Don’t forget to review credentials and experience. When you’ve decided, and hopefully before your baby is born, go ahead and register with the pediatrician. This will make the process of calling for an appointment after the baby is born much simpler.

Many factors play a role in when and how often newborns see the doctor. Pediatricians use newborn doctor appointments as a way to assess not only the infant’s health and development, but also the health, strengths, and challenges of the family. How often your newborn sees the doctor depends in large part on how she was born, as well as whether she has any specific health issues or problems. The schedule of newborn doctor visits is carefully and collaboratively laid out by parents and pediatricians, and this schedule serves as the foundation of the relationship between the family and doctor.

2.2. Questions to Ask

Immunization record. After the first visit, be sure to bring your baby’s immunization record with you to the doctor each time.
• Questions you might have.

It’s a lot to take in, so we’ve put together this ultimate guide to help guide you through what to expect. From what you’ll need to bring to how to calm your baby (and yourself), we’ve got it all. After reading over this guide, you and your partner will feel 1,000% more ready to face that first doctor’s check-up.

Being a new parent can be downright terrifying, but going to that first doctor’s appointment can help you and your partner feel a little more at ease. At the hospital, you’ll have a number of different tests and check-ups with different kinds of doctors, but at your first check-up, you and your partner are going to be getting the low down on everything newborn.

3. First Doctor Appointment

You can also expect to hear a lot of informational advice about your baby, and a lot of questions about how she’s doing at home. Doctors also generally schedule this appointment one to three days after the birth – it’s usually what you go to after hospital discharge. You may have already heard about the first appointment because it’s also the day you receive your discharge instructions. This can make it hard to focus on what the doctor is saying, even though the information given is very important. Many hospitals often disregard anyone going home, but your doctor appointments need to go on your to-do list and be kept no matter what. It’s important to check up on your baby, and to have back up plans in case the appointment takes too long.

What happens at the first baby doctor appointment is often a mystery to new parents. After all, it’s not like your eight-pound baby picked up the phone and made the appointment herself. So, what can you expect at your baby’s first doctor appointment? Well, it’s a little different than a regular well-visit. Every baby undergoes newborn screenings for common problems, including congenital heart defects. If your baby was born less than 24 hours ago, this may be her first ever checkup.

3.1. What to Expect

To get ready for the visit, it’s a great idea to make a list of things that you want to talk about so that you can help guide the conversation. It can be easy to forget things that you may have been worrying about when you’re on the spot and faced with a doctor who is also checking vitals, asking questions and taking notes. Last but not least, feel free to ask questions. Remember that the appointment is not just about checking on the baby, but also helping you, the parent, with whatever you may still be worried about or have questions about.

It can be a little challenging to know just what to expect the first time you visit your pediatrician. Not like an office tour or sneak-peek into the waiting room seems likely in the near future – and it’s certainly too early for them to teach you what to expect from the people working there. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be any less excited to meet you and baby, however. The staff and pediatrician (or family care doctor if that’s what you’re using) are there to help and guide you. They’ve been in the baby business for a long time so they truly are eager to help provide the best care possible to your precious little one.

3.2. Preparing for the Visit

Get ready to answer some questions. When you take your newborn for his first checkup, your baby’s doctor will likely ask you a number of questions about yourself, your husband, and your family, the details, both maternal and paternal of both your pregnancy and your delivery, and how your baby has behaved during his first few days of life. These questions may seem a bit personal and intrusive, but try to remember that your pediatrician isn’t just nosy. The way in which he asks and the details of your responses will help him decide whether or not your baby is growing and developing well, and you’ll be able to understand what’s normal and what’s not and to notice smaller red flags the pediatrician will have you watch for.

So, now that you have an appointment and have a few minutes to breathe, what else can you do to prepare for the visit? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that you write down your questions so you don’t forget to ask the doctor. That’s especially important during these first few newborn appointments, the weeks are such a blur and you’ll find your oxygen deprived brain quite capable of forgetting everything. Some other things you can do, according to the AAP:

4. Vaccinations and Immunizations

Other vaccines on this list can also be used, and there are other vaccines as well. It is important that your child gets every dose on the schedule you agree upon with your pediatrician because skipping or delaying vaccinations leaves your baby at risk. For a child to grow into a healthy adult capable of not passing illnesses on to others, it is essential to ensure that vaccines and all other components of well-child care are completed on time. Don’t be afraid to address your questions or reservations about vaccinations with your doctor. Everyone in the healthcare industry only wants to keep your child healthy and safe, and addressing your concerns is important to us.

– Hepatitis B (Hep B)
– Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)
– Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
– Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)
– Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
– Rotavirus (RV)

In order to help protect your baby from infectious diseases, your pediatrician or family doctor will discuss vaccines with you. Vaccines that your child should have early in life in the United States are listed below. They are usually begun before age 2 months, with follow-up doses later in life:

4.1. Importance

During the newborn visit, you can expect your pediatrician or general practitioner to be very thorough in examining your baby. Temperature, pulse, and other vitals will be taken, and your baby will also be weighed and his umbilical cord stump inspected before the dressing is changed. Your baby will have his eyes, ears, heart, lungs, reflexes, nose, palate, and skin examined as well. The pediatrician will also ask if your baby has had a bowel movement and how many he has had; your baby should have as many bowel movements as days old he is (one on the first day, two on the second, three on the third, etc.). He will also ask how many wet diapers your baby has had and if there have been any occurrences that raise any alarms for you since your baby was born (non-stop crying, vomiting, etc.).

When your baby is born, he will enter a brave new world and will have many “firsts”. One of those milestones is his first medical exam. This appointment usually happens the day after you take your baby home from the hospital, so make sure you have these visits scheduled before you are discharged, if possible. In fact, many pediatricians prefer to see newborns within the first two days of their life to make sure they are eating and gaining weight correctly. These visits are not only important for your baby, but they are also necessary if you want to continue your admission to certain hospitals if you have had a homebirth or are leaving shortly after the delivery.

4.2. Schedule

If you already know which pediatrician you want, and they know about your baby on the way, after the birth, you would call their office with your new happy news, and they will give you an appointment slot. In busier pediatric offices, you may have to call soon after the birth to get an appointment ahead of time. If you do not currently have a pediatrician, the official opinion of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that the first newborn appointment be 24 to 48 hours after you leave the hospital. In response to the many parents who are concerned about infections or their baby’s health, and especially the parents of young mothers who are often sent home from the hospital much sooner than almost any other mother, this is what’s been made a standard minimum for everyone instead of being assigned by individual baby requirements.

The first thing to know about your child’s medical care is that if your baby was born in a hospital, he will need a newborn doctor appointment before you head home. This can be done by a qualified pediatrician or other newborn doctor approved by your insurance, hospital policy, or pediatric office. The timing of the appointment varies widely between individual hospitals, pediatricians, and your baby’s health. These appointments are an important way to set up your baby’s pediatric care and establish a relationship with your newborn care provider, and they are also likely to be a part of the billing chain of any baby-related health insurance or aid you have.

5. Common Concerns and Questions

If it’s time for your baby to be fed, try to plan on breastfeeding during the visit, and make sure to ask for help if you need it. Your doctor will also look very closely at and examine your baby, paying attention to their basic appearance, diapering, pain or discomfort, breathing, and more.

Some of the typical exams done during the first visit focus just on your baby. Air is carefully listened to inside your baby’s chest with a special tool called a stethoscope. If air and liquid “wheezing” sounds are heard, be sure to ask for more information about whether they are okay or not. Your baby’s reflexes are tested. These reflexes can show whether an infant is strong and healthy.

Your doctor will also do a few separate exams on you and your baby. These exams help make sure that nothing important is missed and that everyone is feeling well and strong.

– All about your baby’s health over the last few days. Be ready to answer questions about your baby’s activity, hunger, eating, number of dirty and wet diapers, and any other worries that may have popped up since your baby was born.

– If you have any questions or concerns about yourself (like whether your incision from a c-section is healing okay, or whether your breastfeeding is going well).

– If you had any health problems during or after your childbirth. If you did, you might be asked more questions about them. If you had a routine childbirth, your doctor will likely just ask if you’re feeling okay and if anything happened during childbirth.

First, you’ll get the run-down on the health of you and your baby over the past few days. The doctor (or the doctor’s nurse) will probably ask:

Your baby’s first appointment will be with either the pediatrician or a family doctor who is experienced in baby care. If your baby was born full term and healthy, you’ll probably bring them to the doctor within 3 to 5 days after birth. If your baby was born early or is sick and still in the hospital, they will need to see a doctor a bit sooner. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor’s office for help if you haven’t had a chance to choose a doctor or are feeling confused about any of this!

5.1. Feeding and Nutrition

Try to use solely breastmilk for the first 6-12 months of life if possible. If the baby is having trouble sucking and swallowing breast milk or is separated from a mother that cannot pump, formula should be used. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states that breastfeeding should be easiest for the baby and the most appropriate feeding. Frequent feeding (8-12 times a day) is normal, especially in the first 4-6 weeks of life. A well-fed baby will swallow after suckling (pauses are normal while sucking) lasting 15-20 minutes. Signs of a well-fed baby include breed feeding, contentment after feeding, and producing at least 6 wet diapers a day. As a baby is becoming more well-fed, they should be swallowing more during feeding sessions, increasing their time spent on the breast, and having larger and more frequent urine output.

In the first several days, it is more important that a newborn be fed than what type of feeding is given. When not actively feeding, the baby should be kept warm and dry and then put immediately to the breast when showing interest in feeding. The baby will be more awake around 3-4 hours after birth, and this is an excellent time to attempt sucking and swallowing. It is common for the baby to come off of the breast after just a few sucks in the early feedings. Continue to try feeding every 2-4 hours in the hospital for at least 15 minutes on each side of the breast. Use the hand expressing of colostrum (first breastmilk) to help soften the breast and ready it for the baby to feed. Many practices will supply a breast pump for the mother to use in the hospital in order to collect her colostrum in case the baby is not breastfeeding effectively at the breast.

5.2. Sleeping Patterns

If your baby is having sleep trouble, the first step should be to assess the sleeping environment. Make sure the crib or bassinet is in the same room where you sleep. Young babies should not be put to sleep with a blanket because if the baby rolls over there is a risk of suffocation. A pacifier can be used in the baby’s crib to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Use positioners for the baby to keep him/her from rolling onto his/her stomach. Place the baby on his/her back when not sleeping. Finally, try white noise to block the sound of a sleeping parent or sibling that might otherwise disturb the baby. Remember that keeping the baby quietly busy during the waking hours to ensure sleep during the night will probably not work. Frequent check-ins or lullabies at nap time can interfere with the child’s good sleep patterns.

Newborns usually sleep 16-17 hours a day. Sleep usually occurs in two- to four-hour blocks. Babies should be put to sleep on their backs on a firm, hard mattress. Red flags for a baby’s lack of appropriate sleep include the following: Early wake-ups could signal a disorder or overtiredness; Difficulty falling asleep could be caused by habitual response to being helped to sleep or a sign of a sleep disorder; A complete lack of sleep could be a symptom of a sleep disorder; Short naps could be a symptom of a persistent waking problem. Help your baby develop good sleep patterns by establishing a sleep routine, putting your baby to sleep on his/her back on a firm mattress, and removing any pillows or stuffed animals from around the crib.

5.3. Developmental Milestones

Remember, babies develop at their own pace. Some reach milestones early, while others may reach them later. However, there are some milestones that are considered “red flags” if not reached by a certain point. Celebrate every new thing your baby does, and if you’re unsure about your baby’s development, your pediatrician can guide you in the right direction.

One of the biggest questions many new parents have is often related to how fast their child is growing and developing. It can be hard to tell what’s normal and what’s not, so your pediatrician will talk with you about developmental milestones at each well visit. Some biggies? The ability to track an object visually, the ability to lift and hold their head, and the “social smile” are some of the crucial points on a baby’s development checklist.

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