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The first two years of an infant’s life are crucial in terms of growth and development. They probably also include the most visits to the doctor! But the most important of these is your baby’s very first visit, where significant developmental milestones are measured and parents are advised on caring for their baby.
Even the healthiest of babies must go for a check-up for a general health review. This is also a great time for new moms to clear a lot of doubts and queries regarding their babies.
Scheduling Baby’s First Appointment with Pediatrician
When scheduling the baby’s first appointment with the pediatrician, try and see that the visit is during the least busy part of the doctor’s day so he has adequate time for your queries. Also make sure hubby goes along with you as two heads are certainly better than one when it comes to bringing up baby.
A prior appointment will ensure you don’t have to wait for long in the waiting room. Don’t let strangers hold your baby as they may carry germs!
Baby Health Check-Ups Conducted by the Pediatrician
- A complete physical check-up of the baby
- Check-up of the baby’s heart and lungs by using a stethoscope to feel his heart beat and rhythm of breathing
- Eye checkup for any congenital eye disease
- Check-up of the ears for any infection
- Diagnosis of the mouth for any signs of thrush
- Check up of soft spots and shape of baby’s little head
- Examination of any kind of rashes and birth marks
- Checking the baby’s reflexes and muscle tone
- Examination of the umbilical cord to ensure the stump has fallen off and the belly button is healing well
- Check-up of the genitals
Besides these, the doctor also does the following:
- The doctor will measure height, weight and the circumference of the baby’s head on each visit to check the progress of development.
- The doctor will also want to know about behavioural development of the baby by asking you questions. He will make observations at subsequent visits to rule out any psychological problems.
- The doctor will guide you on your baby’s feeding patterns. Clarify the subjects of breast feeding, bottle feeding and when the baby can be weaned. Discuss if you are facing any latching-on problems.
- The doctor also asks you about the sleeping patterns of your baby.
- He will list out the various vaccinations to be administered and give you a vaccination chart.
Newborn Screenings or Tests after Birth
1. Haemoglobin screening
A blood sample will be drawn from the baby’s heel to test for congenital ailments like sickle-cell anaemia and hypothyroidism. This takes place between birth and two months of age.
2. Hearing examination
Two tests are conducted to check proper hearing in babies. The first test called OtoAcoustic Emission (OAE) is done by placing a small earphone and microphone inside the baby’s ear to calculate reflection of sound in the ear canal. The second test called Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) requires placing electrodes on baby’s head to check the response of hearing nerves to sound.
- The baby is given a hepatitis B shot on the first visit and receives other vaccines and shots after he is 2-months old.
For your baby’s first doctor visit, carry all relevant documents and reports so the doctor has all the necessary information. Ensure that your little one is wearing light clothes. Carry along some toys to distract him so he does not go into panic when the doctor proceeds with the check-up. After all, the little patient should have an easy time too!