Does Your Baby Really Need to Go to All of Their Checkups?

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In the first year of your baby’s life, you’ll probably spend a lot of time at the pediatrician’s office. Beyond dashing in every time your little on has a fever or a rash, your pediatrician will also likely want to see them for check-ups on a regular schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies get checkups at birth, three to five days later, and then at one month, two months, four months, six months, nine months, and 12 months. While this seems like a lot (and it can be really hard to get the time off of work to take them in each time they have an appointment) making sure they get in for every check-up is vitally important. So, why are checkups so important? 

Regular checkups allow you and your child’s doctor to work together to ensure that your little one is growing and developing as they should be. In your baby’s first year of life they will be changing and growing at an incredible pace, so heading in for their scheduled appointments means that your doctor can make sure everything is right on track. 

{ MORE: What to Expect at Your Baby's Two-Week Checkup }

At each checkup, your baby’s doctor will likely measure their growth in both length and weight. Confirming that your baby is growing at a normal pace will let you know that they’re getting the proper nourishment for both their physical and mental development. If your little one is gaining too slowly or too quickly, your pediatrician will likely offer strategies to get them back on track and help you make a plan. Your pediatrician will also assess your child’s development by asking about the different milestones that they should be reaching by their age, and looking for the physical and mental signs that they’re track. Many development issues that doctors look for at checkups are relatively easy to handle if they're caught early but get tougher to address if they’re not noticed right away.

Immunizations are critical to infant and child health and, at many of the checkups your little one will be scheduled for, your tot will be getting their shots. Immunizations are most effective when administered following the proper schedule, so even missing one or two appointments can leave your baby at risk. 

In addition to checking your child’s growth, assessing their development, and keeping them healthy by administering their immunizations, checkups are your opportunity to talk with the doctor about anything that you’re concerned about. If you have questions about safe sleep, how much you should read to your little one, how to get your baby to try vegetables, or anything else under the sun, your child’s doctor will take the time to listen and answer your questions at each appointment. So, next time you look at all the appointments that are scheduled for your little one and wonder if it’s necessary to attend all of them, think about how much you love your little one and make a plan to get your baby to every one of their checkups. 

{ MORE: August is National Immunization Awareness Month: The Case Against Delaying Vaccines }

What did you learn at your little one's checkups?

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Does Your Baby Really Need to Go to All of Their Checkups?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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