Parents, are you eager to bring your baby to his next checkup? Make sure you’re prepared to make the most out of your child’s trip to the doctor.
During your baby’s first six months, you and your baby should see your healthcare provider on a regular basis. At this age, the health care providers you’ll most likely see are your family physician and a public health nurse. These visits will contribute to your baby’s development and growth, as well as your family’s health and adjustment to parenthood.
This one-on-one appointment will allow your family doctor or paediatrician to examine your baby’s early growth, administer vaccination for immunization, provide health recommendations for the near future, and answer any questions you may have regarding your baby.
Let’s have a run through of what usually happens on a well-baby checkup, shall we?
Well baby checkup: What to expect
Your baby’s paediatrician will most likely recommend the first well-baby exam within three to five days after birth. The succeeding visits will be scheduled every few weeks and, later, every few months for the first year. However, there are cases when the doctor might want to see your baby more frequently.
Your baby’s routinary checkup can go from 15 to 30 minutes long. At the doctor’s clinic, you can expect the following:
- Baby’s measurements will be taken
- Head to toe physical exam (especially for newborns up to 6 months)
- Checking on your baby’s development
- Discussion on your child’s immunisation schedule
- Questions about your baby’s daily routine
- Questions you have for your child’s doctor
Make sure you have all your child’s records (especially his immunisation records) as well as a tiny notebook ready for this visit so you can provide your baby’s paediatrician with all the information she needs for assessment. The notebook is for you to jot your notes as the doctor answers all your questions.
Getting your baby’s measurements and physical exam
Upon your arrival at the paediatrician’s clinic, one of the first things they will do is to take measurements. You might need to undress your baby so he can be weighed on an infant scale. Your baby’s length will be measured by placing him on a flat surface and stretching his legs out. A special tape will be used to measure his head circumference.
The measurements will be plotted on your baby’s record book or a growth chart. This will help you and your baby’s doctor to track if your child is growing normally. If the baby has not gained weight, the paediatrician might ask questions about feeding later on.
Head to toe exam
Your baby wil also get a thorough exam from his doctor during the checkup. Some of the basics include checking the soft spots on your baby’s head, checking baby’s ears, eyes, abdomen and your baby’s genitalia. Just let your child’s paediatrician do her job assessing your baby first and stop yourself from asking questions yet. Rest assured, she will give you time to ask later.
Assessing your baby’s milestones
Aside from your child’s physical health, the paediatrician will also be very interested to know if your baby is hitting the developmental milestones for her age.
These days, your baby’s body and mind are quite active. Your little one is considerably more aware of the vast world around her as a result of significant improvements in how well she uses her senses. The pediatrician may check for or inquire about the following developmental stages in your baby:
- Movement and physical development milestones (Can baby support his head? Does he follow objects with his eyes?)
- Brain development milestones (Is she starting to get fussy when she’s bored? Does she respond to loud sounds?)
- Language and communication milestones (Has she started to coo? Does she look when you say her name?)
- Social and emotional milestones (Is she smiling at people now? Does she cry when she doesn’t see anyone?)
- Food and nutrition milestones (Is your baby feeding well? How long does he breastfeed at night?)
Note: Questions may vary depending on your baby’s age.
Symptoms you need to tell your paediatrician
While each baby develops at their own pace, you should consult and have a checkup with your paediatrician if you notice these early warning signs at 2 months:
- Inability to latch on while nursing or bottle-feeding.
- During feeding, he loses a lot of breastmilk or formula out the side of his mouth.
- Refuses to smile at strangers.
- He keeps his hands away from his mouth.
- Is unaffected by loud noises.
- Doesn’t follow people or objects around as they move.
- Can’t keep his head up while lying on his stomach.
- Moves in an uneven manner, with one leg or arm moving more than the other.
- He’s still so limp that it feels like he’ll slip away from you, or his head still bobbles a lot.
- Has any eye problems, especially if they’re watery or filled with pus. It’s possible that he has a clogged or narrow tear duct that requires care.
- Is deafeningly quiet.
- Never stay awake for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Image from file photo
Discussing your baby’s vaccination schedule
For the first few month’s a well-baby checkup isn’t complete without talking about your child’s immunisation record.
Vaccines (also known as immunisations) aid in the development of a baby’s body’s defenses against dangerous infections. Getting your baby completely vaccinated can also help reduce the chance of SIDS.
Many medications are administered in a series of dosages. Your kid must receive each dose at the correct time in order to be safe.
During vaccination, ask the doctor or nurse to demonstrate to you how to hold and comfort your baby. Also, feel free to inquire about vaccines, diseases that they help to prevent, and how to care for your infant following vaccinations.
There are several vaccines that are compulsary, so make sure to ask your child’s doctor about it. Read this to learn more about childhood immunisation schedule in Singapore.
Image from Shutterstock
“Is it really safe to give my infant that many shots at once?” you might wonder. The answer is yes. Fortunately, your paediatrician can mix certain doses to reduce the amount of pricking and, ideally, the amount of sobbing.
Remember that these vaccines are completely safe, and your baby requires them to prevent him or her from a variety of life-threatening infections such as pertussis and whooping cough.
Some babies experience slight adverse effects after receiving immunisations. They may also develop a fever, which usually starts within 24 hours and lasts one to two days, local reactions such as redness, swelling, and pain at the vaccine site, or other reactions such as tiredness or crankiness.
If your child feels uncomfortable, use a cool compress to the area the same day the immunisations were given and a warm compress the next day.
Your child may suffer these side effects that night or the next day, but they should be back to normal in two to three days. If you’re concerned about your child’s vaccine reaction.
Especially if you notice that he or she is acting sick, crying a lot, or has common symptoms like blood in the stool, your paediatrician would be happy to talk to you about what’s normal and what’s not, and whether or not your child needs to be seen.
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Strong Baby: 9 Tips on How to Boost Your Child’s Immunity
Baby checkup: What to ask the doctor
This is an opportunity for you and your doctor to discuss your baby’s daily activities and address any concerns you may have. Your doctor will most likely inquire about your child’s sleep patterns, digestion, and sensitivity to auditory or visible stimuli, among other things.
It’s a good idea to keep track of how often and for how long your baby eats, sleep, how many wet and dirty diapers he has every day, and how much time he spends on his tummy in the days preceding up to the appointment.
Now is the moment to bring up any physical illnesses that your little one has been experiencing, such as diaper rash or reflux. And, if he’s breastfed, now is a good time to ask the doctor if he should be taking vitamin D supplements if you haven’t already
Make the most of your time with your child’s paediatrician by preparing a list of questions in advance. Here are some suggestions:
- Is (insert medical concern) normal?
- What should I expect from my baby’s development in the next few months?
- Should I be feeding/changing her diaper more than I currently am?
- How do I make sure I burp her properly after feeding?
- How often should I be bathing my little one?
- Is having ____-coloured poop normal?
- What medications are safe to give her at this age?
- When is the next schedule for vaccination?
Don’t hesitate to clarify and ask the doctor to repeat any information that might be unclear. Before you conclude your baby’s checkup, don’t forget to ask your child’s paediatrician when the next schedule will be, and thank her for her superb service.
But if at any point before your next appointment you notice that your child is unwell (fever, dehydrated, fussy or not feeding as much) don’t wait for the next well-baby checkup and contact your baby’s paediatrician right away.
This article was written by Matt Doctor and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.