Frequent baby checkups are a standard during the first year after birth. In the United States, mothers are asked to bring their babies for checkups 3 to 5 days after birth if released from the hospital earlier, and at the ages of 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. However, if your pediatrician has any concerns about your baby, he or she may make more frequent appointments. There is no need to panic if you are asked to bring your baby to pediatrician more often than other mothers because your doctor may have decided for more frequent checkups only to make sure that your baby is doing fine. You are highly recommended not to miss a single baby checkup because during each visit, your pediatrician will examine your baby, evaluate his or her development and give your baby the necessary vaccines. The checkups are completely painless, of course, if they do not include vaccination. If they do, you better prepare yourself for lots of tears. But do not worry because your baby will soon forget all about the pain, while the immunization will protect him or her from many diseases. You are highly recommended not to postpone vaccination of your baby to avoid exposing him or her to potentially life-threatening diseases. There is always a risk of side effects, however, the benefits of immunization by far outweigh the risks. The most common side effects of vaccines are soreness on the site of the shot and mild fever. But if you have any concerns, then your baby’s routine checkup is a good time to discuss them with your pediatrician.
In addition to giving your baby vaccines according to the immunization schedule, your pediatrician will carefully examine your baby during each visit. He or she will measure your baby’s weight, length and head circumference to make sure that your baby is growing and developing normally. Your pediatrician will also check your baby’s eyes to evaluate his or her eye movement and sight, your baby’s ears to exclude ear infections and ask you about your baby’s response to sounds, look into his or her mouth for signs of oral thrush, check the abdomen for tenderness, listen to your baby’s heartbeat and breathing, etc. Your baby will be literally examined from head to toe.
During each baby checkup, you will be also asked to answer various questions depending on your baby’s age. For example, at the age of 1 month you will be asked about your baby’s sleeping, how often and how long he or she eats, if your baby hold his or her head up when laying on the tummy, etc. When your baby will get older, you will be asked about his or her attempts to roll over, what sounds your baby is making, is he or she able to sit independently, does he or she pull up to a standing position by holding onto furniture, etc. Your answers will help your pediatrician determine whether your baby is reaching the developmental milestones, so be sure to answer all the questions honestly.