Your Toddler’s 15-Month Check Up – What to Expect
A 15-month doctor visit will be similar to the previous visit you have had for your toddler, except now he is bigger and will need some new vaccinations. He has also reached a few developmental milestones which the doctor will look for and will even measure his head, height, and weight. The paediatrician will also pay closer attention to the eyes and throat to check for conditions such as lazy eye and enlarged tonsils. There will also be a general physical examination to ensure your toddler is healthy. If you are about to go for your 15-month visit, this article will tell you all you need to know about what to expect and what to ask.
What All Does the Doctor Check During the 15-Month Well Visit?
On your toddler’s 15-month visit, the doctor will begin with the most basic indicators of healthy growth: your child’s height, weight, and head circumference. The measurements are plotted to compare with the average values on growth charts. This is an important step as it tells you if your baby is growing at a healthy rate or not.
The doctor will then move to your baby’s eating habits. By 15 months, most toddlers will be used to eating various foods and even many of the dishes regularly prepared at your home. They should also be able to handle different textures and flavours, and have a minimum of three meals a day with nutritious snacks in between. During the second year of life, the growth rate also slows down a bit; therefore, if you’ve been worrying about your baby’s appetite drop, then now is the time to ask the doctor. You will also see that they will prefer to finger-feed rather than eat from a spoon or drink from a cup.
Now that they are eating a range of foods, you can expect to see the appearance of their poop change along with the frequency and consistency. If you notice that they get constipated or have diarrhoea from certain foods, make sure to mention that to rule out food allergies.
The doctor will make a note of your baby’s sleep patterns. Typically, toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day, including one or two naps during the day.
Development milestones are also something his doctor will look for. By 15 months, toddlers can typically speak three to five words while understanding and following simple commands. They should also be able to point to a body part and walk without support or even run. Some can climb furniture and imitate activities such as your housework or actions.
Physical examination of the body is the next thing the doctor will perform with your child undressed in your presence. This step involves an eye exam and an oral exam where the doctor checks for any abnormalities. The heartbeat and breathing are also examined, and then their motor skills and reflexes.
Finally, the doctor will look into your child’s immunisation records. These are critical in protecting children from dangerous diseases, so it is essential they have their shots on time. However, the immunisation schedules can vary between clinics; therefore, talk to your doctor and carry your child’s records for a visit.
Questions That the Doctor May Ask
Here is a couple of question the doctor will ask you about your child. Although you’re the parent and know all about your child, it helps to keep important information in mind.
- How are your child’s food habits and appetite?
- Does he eat all of not most of the foods you prepare for him?
- Does he prefer to feed using his fingers and prefer to do it independently?
- Does he drink from a bottle?
- How many hours does he sleep in the night, and how often does he nap during the day?
- Does he point at something he wants to show you?
Immunisation is the final and biggest step in your toddler’s doctor visit. Maintain a record of his shots and discuss what has been administered and what has yet to be given with the doctor. The best way to stop him from crying is to distract him from the prick of the needle. Sing a song or get his favourite toy or book to keep him distracted while the doctor gives him the shot. Remember to praise and cheer after the shot, so it becomes a positive memory.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of vaccinations that need to be administered at his 12th visit. If not, then here are his 15-month checkup shots:
- The MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine.
- Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) vaccine’s last dose in the series.
- PCV 13 (pneumococcal disease); the last dose in this series of vaccination
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) can be given this visit or the next one.
- HepA (hepatitis A)
It’s essential to understand that these vaccinations are given in a series, and your toddler needs all the recommended doses to be safe. The doctor may also recommend a flu shot if it is the flu season, as it is given to all children 6 months and over. These shots are given once a year in two doses that are four weeks apart.
What All You Can Ask the Doctor
Now that your baby eats a wider range of foods and is engaged in more activities than ever before, you will have a lot of questions to ask. Generally, this list of questions should inform you of all you need to know about what you can expect:
- How do I get him to drink milk?
- Should he be drinking more juices? If so, how much is good?
- How can I get my toddler to eat more vegetables since he refuses to eat any?
- He is attached and clings to me all the time? How do I encourage him to be comfortable while away from me?
- My toddler is addicted to his pacifier; how will it hurt his teeth?
- How do I discipline him if he won’t take ‘no’ for an answer?
- My toddler bites and hits often. How do I discourage it?
The 15-month check-up is a great time to measure the progress toddlers have made since their 12-month visit. Are they able to better handle different foods? Can they take the shots they missed the last time? Is it too early for the next series? These might be some of the questions you have for the doctor. This article will guide you through everything you can expect from this visit.