I know the feeling when you first find out that you’re pregnant, and you feel like you have TONS of time to prepare. Even if you read every book known to man and feel like you could do this with your eyes closed, once that baby is born, you realize that there is a lot more to a newborn than the books can prepare you for. Cue your pediatrician! Having your pediatrician guide you through your baby’s first year is what we are here for. I want to give you an overview of what you can expect at your baby’s first pediatrician visits.
What to Expect at Baby’s First Pediatrician Visits
3 – 5 Days Old
The initial visit is usually when the baby is between 3-5 days old. However, we see some babies right after hospital discharge if there were concerns with weight or jaundice. Most newborns can be seen a little bit later if everything was smooth sailing after their birth.
That first pediatrician visit is usually just a talking session where your doctor will go over feedings and the count of dirty diapers and how much sleep is to be expected from the newborn. There are no shots or blood work usually done UNLESS there is a concern for jaundice, and then we will check blood work that day.
2 Weeks Old
If all is well, the next visit will be when the baby is 2 weeks old, and that is when we are looking to see if they are showing good weight gain. Most babies at 2 weeks old would have regained or surpassed their birth weight. We also perform a state-mandated newborn screen looking to rule out treatable thyroid disorders, blood disorders, and metabolic disorders.
2 Months Old
If mom and baby seem like they are progressing normally, we will check back in around 2 months for the well-check and first set of vaccines. Typically, at the 2-month pediatrician visit, your little one is due for 3 injections and one oral vaccine. Most offices use combined vaccines to minimize the number of injections, and most also only carry preservative-free vaccines.
4 – 12 Months Old
After the 2 month visit, the schedule is 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and then one year. Vaccines are given at every one of those pediatrician visits except for the 9-month visit, where we will check hemoglobin and, if necessary, lead (if there are risk factors).
We are focusing on how the baby is growing at each one of those well-checks: height, weight, and head size. We will also go over all the milestones they should be hitting, making sure their physical exam is benign, and—of course—answering all the questions that come up in between visits.
Most pediatricians recommend following the CDC schedule for vaccines, especially for that first year of life. There are so many exposures, and their little immune systems are encountering new bacteria and viruses constantly.
These first several pediatrician visits will go by in a flash, so enjoy those growing babies!