Your first well-baby visit will be about one month after you bring your baby home from the hospital. Your provider will check his weight and height, and offer you advice on how to handle minor illnesses or concerns at home and when to call the doctor.
You're still getting used to life with your baby, so give yourself as much time for this checkup as you can. Bring along whatever you need to keep your baby warm, fed, and contented, and make sure to bring a copy of your newborn's hospital record, if you have it, as well as your insurance card. Remember to register your baby for health insurance, too.
At this visit, your provider will probably:
- Weigh and measure your baby to make sure he's growing at a healthy rate. Click here to see our growth chart.
- Check that his umbilical cord stump has fallen off and the belly button is healing well. If your baby son was circumcised, your provider will check that this is healing as well.
- Give your baby a hepatitis shot if he didn't get one at the hospital or at a previous doctor's visit.
- Address any health concerns that he or she notices, such as cradle cap or diaper rash.
- Give you some insight into your baby's individual personality and temperament, as well as his development.
- Ask you about your baby's sleeping, eating, and elimination patterns ("the "pee-pee" and "poopy" reports).
Your provider will want to know:
- Has your baby seen another health care provider since the last visit? If so, why? What was the outcome of that visit, and were any medications or treatments prescribed?
- Does your baby hold his head up when you put him on his tummy?
- Does he quiet down, at least briefly, when he hears you or when you pick him up?
- Does he sleep a little longer during some part of the day or night?
- Does he have longer periods when he's alert?
- Does he follow you with his eyes, and study your eyes and face when you're close?
- Does he respond to your voice or other sounds?
- Is he put to sleep on his back? Are his bedding and room appropriate? Click here for more information on SIDS.
- Does he watch a mobile above him?
- Is he a little fussier at the end of the day? All of these behaviors are expected at this time.
- If you are breastfeeding, are you taking any medication or supplements?
- Are there any special stresses or changes at home?
Talk It Over
You no doubt have many other concerns. Now's the time to discuss them with your provider. Here are a few common issues:
- How is your baby eating and sleeping? Let your provider know how often your baby eats.
- Your baby may have a common newborn skin condition, such as cradle cap; your provider can help you understand what it is and how to treat it.
- Talk about how siblings and other family members are adjusting.
- Ask your provider to show you how to take your baby's temperature. You can also ask the nurse to watch while you take it, and to offer suggestions.
- Ask about crying management and comforting techniques. Your baby should respond to being held. Discuss pacifier use as well.
New parents always have questions. Don't be shy around your health care provider he or she wants to help. For example, you should mention to your health care provider any of the following situations that apply to you:
- People are giving you advice that confuses you or is contradictory.
- Your baby doesn't respond to sounds, especially your voice.
- Your baby isn't moving both hands and feet equally.
- Your baby has a puffy or runny eye.
- Your baby doesn't focus on your face when he is alert.
- You're having a hard time comforting your baby.
- You're feeling blue, or having a hard time sleeping or eating.
- You're going back to work soon, and you're not sure how you're going to manage it.
- Your baby doesn't stay awake for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- You don't have health insurance for your baby. There are programs available to get that coverage.
Click here to return to Well Baby Introduction.