New baby in the new year? Why regular doctor visits are so important for your newborn.
Having a new baby in the new year? Whether you are a brand new parent or a seasoned mother or father, it’s likely that the health of your newborn is your top priority. The easiest way to ensure a strong start to life? Regular doctor visits are so important for your newborn!
In the hospital, your newborn will receive their first well-child exam. Their first measurements of weight, height and head circumference will be taken. The doctor will listen to their lungs, heart and belly, inspect pulse points, the umbilical cord, the hips, the back and the feet. Your newborn’s reflexes will also be tested. A small drop of blood will be taken from the heel to test for the most common newborn diseases. Immunizations will be given. Finally, your physician will discuss your baby’s feeding, diapering and sleeping habits to ensure they are normal.
The next well-child visit will happen when you are home from the hospital, at about 3-5 days old. You will take your newborn to the pediatrician’s office, where your pediatrician will go over many of the same routines as in the hospital. They will review safety information that is relevant to your baby’s age, ask questions about your newborn’s development and answer questions that you have.
Through the first year of life, well-child visits repeat at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months old. Screenings and immunizations will vary, but generally the visit will follow the same procedure. Attending all of these visits is very important for your infant for several reasons:
- They allow your doctor to plot your child’s physical growth on a graph, known as a growth curve. This gives your information on where they fall in relation to other babies and alerts your doctor to changing trends that may indicate a medical problem.
- There are thousands of books on babies, but the fact is that no two are alike. What is just a fussy temperament for one baby may be another’s cry for help because they are in constant pain. Regular physical examinations by a trained pediatrician help catch anything that may be wrong such as a heart murmur, ear infection or joint issue.
- Your pediatrician is an expert in child development. Each visit will include a discussion of your baby’s eating, diapering and sleeping habits. This is a great time to bring up any concerns you have so that your pediatrician can address them in a timely manner. Your pediatrician will also ask you age-appropriate questions about your baby’s development to ensure they are on track to meet their developmental milestones. If they are not, your pediatrician can refer you to specialists to provide extra support.
- Regular immunizations are crucial to your child’s health. Attending regular doctor visits and following the immunization schedule recommended by your pediatrician gives your child the protection they need against serious diseases.
At Westgate Family Physicians, we treat patients of all ages. There is no time more precious or exciting than when a new baby enters the world, and as parents ourselves, we understand the responsibility that comes with caring for a new life. To schedule your newborn’s well-child visits, call (864) 574-0070.