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Well Baby Visit: 1 Year

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It's the 1-year checkup! Your baby will be more wiggly and worried about being examined than ever before. Your provider's office no doubt has lots of interesting toys for children to play with, but don't be surprised if she wants to keep close to you when your provider approaches. And although she may have tolerated the exam before, she'll be less appreciative now. Don't worry — it's expected.

Immunizations Your baby will be getting quite a few shots at this visit. It doesn't help much to warn a baby this young about having shots, as her sense of time and her comprehension is limited. She'll pick up any apprehension in your voice or manner. Be there to hold your baby, distracting her, if possible, with a song or a game. If you stay calm and supportive, your baby won't get so upset.

  • Since she'll be getting several shots at this visit, consider giving your baby a little acetaminophen for the pain.
  • You have a choice about the chicken pox vaccine. Discuss this with your provider.

At this visit, your provider will probably:

  • Weigh and measure your baby. Her rate of growth will start to slow now. Click here to see our growth chart.
  • Give your baby her next round of immunizations (probably DTaP, Hib, polio, MMR, and perhaps chicken pox).
  • Answer any questions you may have about vitamins, supplements, and your toddler's diet.
  • Address any concerns about your baby's growth or weight.
  • By one year, she'll have about tripled her birth weight. Your baby will be growing more slowly, but steadily, in this second year.
  • If your baby is too chubby, she may be drinking too much milk. Your health care provider will let you know if your baby's weight is out of proportion to her height and whether you should change what's she eating. Toddlers don't need "diets," just a healthier menu.
  • Discuss juice, as many nutritional problems stem from a baby having become a juice addict.

Your provider will want to know:

Every baby is different and reaches developmental milestones at unique times. Still, it's good to talk about your baby's individual development with your provider. 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 have any teeth yet? If so, how many?
  • Can she pull herself to a standing position and move away from whatever is supporting her? Can she get from one place to another somehow?
  • Is she walking on her own or with her hand held?
  • Can she say more than "Mama" and "Dada"? If so, what?
  • Does she use nonsense words and listen to conversations? Can she imitate somewhat?
  • Does she turn to the sound of her name and the names of familiar objects?
  • Point with her finger at things she wants or at things she wants you to notice?
  • Play games like "peekaboo," and "So Big," or do gestures to favorite songs?
  • Play with objects using both hands working together?
  • Feed herself with her hands or drink from a cup?
  • Try to imitate familiar tasks like sweeping the floor or washing her face?
  • Can she look for hidden objects?

Talk It Over

  • Lead testing. This may be a mandatory or an optional blood test. Discuss possible lead exposures. Many health care providers have a checklist to assess you child's risk for lead poisoning. If your baby lives in a house built before 1972, she'll probably need the test.
  • Follow-up tests. If your baby had a previous hearing test or eye exam because of some special concern, remind your health care provider. It may be a good time for follow-up tests.
  • Contagious diseases. If someone in your household or in frequent contact with your baby has a serious infectious disease such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, or meningitis, your baby may need to be tested.
  • Recent illnesses, medications, or emergencies. If your child is taking any medication or has visited an emergency room for any reason since the last visit, let your provider know. Bring the records or medicine with you.
  • Discipline. Your health care provider can help you with discipline, an issue on most parents' minds at this age. It's good to get some advice now because your toddler's behavior is likely to get more challenging. Get everyone in the household in on this discussion with your provider, if possible.
  • Family issues. If there's been a big change in your family, such as job switch or loss, a death, a divorce, or anything that might be causing stress in the family, let your provider know. This will affect your baby, and you'll want to learn ways to help her deal with it.
  • Health Insurance. If you no longer have health insurance for your child, say so. There are programs available to get that coverage.

Speak Up!

There may be some issues of special concern to you or your health care provider. Let your provider know if your toddler:

  • Can't or won't bear her weight on her legs.
  • Has one or both eyes crossed, even part of the time.
  • Doesn't use both hands equally.
  • Doesn't use any real words, doesn't know her name, and /or doesn't babble or talk gibberish.
  • Isn't crawling or moving forward in some way.
  • Doesn't seem curious, exuberant, or happy most of the time, or doesn't seek out social interaction with familiar people.
  • Has no fear of strangers or anxiety at separations. (Fear and anxiety in these situations are normal at this age.)
  • Doesn't point at things.
  • Seems to have problems with her vision or hearing.
  • Has lost an ability she had before.
  • Is not feeding herself.
  • Chokes or gags frequently, drools, or has a hard time swallowing liquids.

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