6-Month Checkup for Babies – What Does It Include?
You might be feeling that six months has flown away in the blink of an eye with your baby, and now suddenly, he is half a year old. Congratulations to you for completing the six months of parenthood! Now stay prepared for more development milestones like sitting or crawling. You might need to take more care of your baby now that he will start moving around. Know all the details about a 6-month pediatrician visit for the child to be prepared beforehand.
How to Prepare for the Visit
Keep your baby’s vaccination card and all his medical documents with you beforehand. Your baby will get a lot of vaccinations during his check-up, due to which he might have some swelling over the injected area or a fever. This happens as the body is trying to build strong resistance towards some serious diseases. Be prepared for pain-relieving medicines for your baby to consult with a doctor. Take some additional milk for the baby in case necessary.
What Questions the Doctor May Ask
The doctor may ask various questions around your baby’s general health like:
1. Has your baby started rolling over or tried to sit by himself?
During this development period, your baby starts rolling both ways and tries to sit down on his own. He may even try to stand while holding something.
2. Is your baby reacting when you call out to him?
Your baby will start listening carefully around this time. So, he starts reacting to the sounds around him and may even like some music or the sound of a person.
3. Is your baby active and reaching out to grab things?
Your baby may start grabbing some or everything he sees and touches.
4. How many teeth have appeared till now?
During this period, normally, one or two teeth start appearing. The doctor might ask if they have appeared yet?
5. How is your baby reacting?
Since your baby will have started reacting to sounds, the doctor may ask if the baby reacts actively when he is called with excitement or if he laughs seeing or sensing anything?
6. Has the baby suffered from any ailment or illness recently?
The doctor might ask about the illness like cough or cold that the baby might have encountered recently to know his position better.
7. Can the baby hold his weight on his legs when you hold him?
Since the baby is likely to start standing on his own by holding something, the legs have to be able to hold on to the weight. The doctor might ask this to check if the baby’s legs are strong or need some treatment.
What Does the Checkup Include?
The doctor visit includes all the routine and developmental tests on the baby like:
1. Measuring Height and Weight
Babies have standardized growths over their period of developmental years. The doctor checks the baby’s height and weight and records it in their growth chart. The growth chart enables you to compare your baby’s growth with other children. However, it may vary slightly for different babies, and there is no concern or worry.
2. Checking Heart and Lungs
Babies hearts beat faster than the usual adult body as they require more energy, and they tend to take shorter and faster breaths. The doctor checks the heart rate and the breathing of the child for any abnormal breathing signs.
3. Observing Eyes and Ears
The eyes and ears are delicate and sensitive parts and are more prone to infections. The doctor checks the eye to check for blocked tear ducts or discharge and infections, checks the ear, and observes the baby’s reaction to sound.
4. Checking Head
The babies have some soft spots on the head, which might affect if the baby is dehydrated or otherwise. The doctor checks the fontanelles (soft spots) on the baby’s head to see if the baby is developing any flat spot.
5. Checking the Whole Body
The overall development of the body is very important. The doctor checks for motor skills and the muscle contractions and controls when made to sit upright to check the child’s development.
6. Pressing Stomach
The doctor presses the child’s abdomen area gently check for any hernia signs or any stomach-related issues that the baby might be facing.
7. Examining Genitals
The genitals of the baby might catch infection due to diapers. The doctor checks any signs of infections due to diapers or any other reasons.
He might happen to check other things related to the physical growth of the child.
The doctor will provide the baby 6-month checkup shots to keep the baby away from diseases like:
- Hib vaccines (Haemophilus influenza type b)
- Pneumococcal vaccine or known as PCV13
- Polio drops
- RV (rotavirus) that depends on the vaccines given
- DTap (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis)
- Hepatitis B or known as Hep B
- Flu Shots if it is the flu season
These 6-month checkup immunizations are essential for the baby as it helps fight many serious diseases.
Questions You Can Ask
You can also prepare yourself questions to ask at the 6-month check-up regarding the child beforehand to have the knowledge about his/her development.
- If you hadn’t started feeding the solid food to the baby yet, you can ask: What type of solid food should be introduced to the baby at the start?
- What if he spills out all the food after eating immediately?
- You can also ask the doctor about the change in the color and smell of poop and urine after introducing solid foods.
- Should I worry about any allergy (if any runs in the genes)?
- Are there any specific vitamins or minerals that should be added to the food for the child?
- What should be the ratio of solid food vs. milk should be given to the child to adjust to the food.
- What are the changes that will happen to the baby over recent times?
- If the child has not developed any teeth yet, is it a matter of concern?
- If your baby has been throwing up any food, you can ask the concerns related to that.
- If the child has been reacting a little bit odd or abnormal, you should ask all the symptoms related to that.
- What will be the current vaccines that will be given after this month?
- If the child will have any side-effects from the vaccines or medicines?
If you have any other concerns other than this, do not hesitate to ask the doctor. It is better to have a piece of knowledge beforehand than worry later.
Advice That the Doctor May Give You
The doctor might give you some advice at the 6-months check-up of a baby. This may include:
- Start introducing solid foods to the baby: You can start with pureed fruits, vegetables, or the baby cereals. Since the baby will just start with solid foods, they might advise you to crush and blend the foods that you give to the child. Observe the baby’s reaction to the foods and call the doctor if the baby shows some kind of sickness.
- More milk and less solid: Offer liquids and breastmilk more than the solids. It is very normal for some children to eat less during the 24 hours after getting vaccines. Give more attention to provide more nutritious foods.
- Indulge more with the baby: This is the time when you have to take utmost care of the baby. The doctor may suggest building a more comfortable zone around your baby, laughing more, and playing with him. Talk to him when he responds. This helps in building more stimulation power for the baby.
- Coming of teeth: This is the period when the baby’s teeth start popping out slowly. He might tend to chew a lot or may drool. This may happen that he might have liquid poop during the initial times. however, he must be hydrated properly to avoid dehydration.
- Feeding on his own: If the baby is trying to take food and eat by himself, do not stop him. This is the time when he’s developing, and he will start to learn now. Try feeding him with a bowl and spoon and not from the bottle or feeder.
- Good hygiene: The doctor might suggest you to regularly clean your child’s teeth and gums properly with a small cotton cloth gently. This will help to clear away the bacteria. You can also use a bit of baby toothpaste to clean the same.
These might be the general consultations that a child can have at their 6-month routine check-up. Since every child is unique, some have their own timelines for development and growth. They might grow early, or some might grow a bit late. This is not a matter of big concern. However, if you have something that you have to ask the doctor or get advice for, don’t hold yourself back, and get all doubts cleared. It is essential to give proper attention to your baby’s behavior and needs during this period of time. Seek medical advice whenever you feel something odd about the baby’s health and his growth.