Get Ready, Set, Go…Your Newborn’s Checkup!
Welcome to parenthood! Everything is new – your roles and responsibilities and, of course, your baby! In these first few days, weeks, and even months, you are experiencing many changes. From sleep cycles, to packing up bags for the smallest outing, to the changes to your body, you may feel overwhelmed, content, scared, and happy – all in the same moment!
As you journey through these early days, you will also find that your baby is changing. To support you and your wee one through these changes, you will be visiting your pediatrician regularly. Typically, you will see your pediatrician a couple of times immediately following the week you have given birth, and then regularly at 2, 6, and 10 weeks.
With perhaps little sleep and a little one in tow, it's best to be ready with your questions (written down) before you visit. You should think of your pediatrician as a partner in helping you raise a healthy and happy baby. Pediatricians are experts in child growth and development, so use them as key resources regarding any questions or concerns about your baby. Remember, you are with your baby most probably 24/7. Your pediatrician will only see your infant for a few minutes. You know your baby best and are their greatest advocate, so be ready at your next visit.
What should you expect?
What should you ask?
With each visit, the pediatrician will be looking at your baby's physical growth. In addition to being weighed and measured (both length and head circumference), the pediatrician will take a look at your infant from head to toe.
In addition to this physical check-up, your doctor may inquire about eating and sleeping patterns. It may be helpful (especially when your head might be fuzzy due to lack of sleep!) to make a log of your child's eating and sleeping times and amounts. Even if you are nursing and cannot measure ounces consumed, you can note how many times per day that you are nursing. This will also be helpful for you to begin to see any patterns in your child that may be developing.
After the pediatrician has taken their turn, most likely, they will turn to you to see if you have any questions. Remember, no question is dumb, so fire away!
Questions that your pediatrician may be able to help you with include:
- How often and/or how much should my infant be eating?
- What are good positions for feeding my baby? (Note: some pediatricians may even have a lactation specialist in their office that may be able to work directly with you on any breastfeeding challenges or questions).
- When my baby is crying, how can I comfort them?
- How can I begin to help my baby sleep on their own? What is the best position for sleeping and/or are their positions that can reduce the possibility of SIDS?
- What vaccines are recommended for my infant? When will these vaccines be delivered? Is there anything I can do to comfort and/or prepare my infant for receiving these shot(s)? Are there any risks or additional information I should consider before having my baby vaccinated?
- How and when is it okay to take my baby into public settings (i.e. the grocery store)? Is there anything I can do to protect them from getting a virus (i.e. cold)?
- If there are questions after typical business hours, what should I do to reach a medical professional?
In addition to these few questions, you may find that you have specific questions about your child.
Each child is unique, and your journey may be different than others.
Use your resources and enjoy the ride!