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Well Child Visit for Newborns
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A well child visit is when your child sees a healthcare provider to prevent health problems. It is a different type of visit than when your child sees a healthcare provider because he is sick. Well child visits are used to track your child's growth and development. It is also a time for you to ask questions and to get information on how to keep your child safe. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them. Your child should have regular well child visits from birth to 17 years.
Where to take your child for well child visits:
It is best to find a medical home for your child. A medical home is a doctor's office or clinic where your child sees the same healthcare providers every time. A medical home will also keep your child's health records. The healthcare providers will get to know your child and your family so they can give him the best care. They will also make sure he receives vaccines on the recommended immunization schedule to protect him from diseases.
What happens at a well child visit for newborns:
Your baby's healthcare provider may do the following:
- Give your baby the hepatitis B vaccine
- Chart your baby's head growth, and check his head shape and fontanelles (soft spots)
- Check your baby's color, vision, hearing, and reflexes
- Chart your baby's weight and length
- Talk to you about the importance of breastfeeding and make sure you are not having any breastfeeding problems
- Talk to you about how often your baby should urinate and have bowel movements
- Check your male baby's circumcised penis and teach you how to care for it until it heals
- Teach you how to care for your baby's umbilical cord stump, such as keeping the diaper below the stump to help it dry
- Talk to you about how to sponge bathe your baby and care for his skin
- Tell you to lay your baby on his back to sleep to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Review crib safety, such as not leaving pillows or toys in the crib, and not leaving looped cords or any ties near the crib
- Make sure you have a rear-facing infant car seat in every car, and that it is installed properly in the back seat
- Ask who will be taking care of your baby at home
- Help you find safe ways to comfort your baby when he cries
- Remind you never to shake a baby if he will not stop crying
Development your newborn may have:
- Respond to sound, faces, and bright objects that are near him
- Grasp a finger placed in his palm
- Have rooting and sucking reflexes, and turn his head toward a nipple
- React in a startled way by throwing his arms and legs out and then curling them in
What you need to know about your baby's next well child visit:
Your baby's healthcare provider will tell you when to bring him in again. The next well child visit is usually at 1 or 2 weeks. Contact your baby's healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about his health or care before the next visit.
Changes that may happen before the next well child visit:
- Your baby's healthcare provider may ask about your baby's crib. Make sure the slats of the crib are no wider than 2⅜ inches. This makes the slats too small for your baby's head to fit through. Check that the mattress fits snugly in the crib. Your baby could fall between the mattress and crib and become trapped. Keep pillows and toys out of your baby's crib. Ask about other ways to make your home safe for your baby.
- Your baby's healthcare provider may review the importance of breastfeeding for the first year of your baby's life. Talk to him about any problems with or concerns about breastfeeding. Also talk to him before you give your baby formula. He can help you choose a formula that contains iron. He may recommend that you breastfeed for a certain period of time before you offer your child a bottle or pacifier.
- Your baby may start keeping his attention on faces or objects held close to his face. He may respond to sounds, such as voices.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.