Motherhood can be intimidating. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parenting came with a guidebook? We wish it did, but that’s why we’re here – and why we’ve teamed up with St. Elizabeth Physicians to help give you support and resources you can turn to. We can’t stress enough the importance of well-child visits, so the experts over at St. Elizabeth put together a list of appointments your little one should not miss.
Newborn Screenings at the Hospital
It all starts at birth. Newborn screenings provide parents with their baby’s most up-to-date health information. If any treatment plans are necessary, those can be put into place immediately. When delivering at St. Elizabeth Family Birth Place, their medical team administers the below to all newborns:
- Blood Screening
- Hearing Screening
- Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD) Screening
- First Hep B Vaccine
The head-to-toe exam also includes a bilirubin check (jaundice or yellowing of the skin) and weight, height, and head circumference measurements. If you have a natural birth, that head circumference may give you bragging rights! 😉 You can also meet with a lactation consultant if you choose to breastfeed.
Six to Ten Days After Birth
Especially if you’re a first-time parent, trying to figure out what all those cries mean can be a challenge! Are they hungry? Are they wet? Do they just need to snuggle? Is it something I should be worried about?? According to St. Elizabeth Physicians, you should schedule a visit with your new baby’s pediatrician around 6-10 days after birth. This is even more important if your wee one lost weight in the hospital or if you’re noticing any difficulties while feeding.
Baby’s First 2 Years
You are provided with a first-year checkup schedule by your child’s pediatrician, but most often little ones are seen at one month, two months, four months, nine months, and twelve months. There are a few more through the second year. You get to track your baby’s development and growth, and you keep up-to-date on all recommended immunizations.
1 Month Assessment
- Weight, early development, concerns or questions you have, and asking how MOM is doing!
2 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and checking out baby’s SMILE!
4 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and seeing if baby is cooing and rolling over by now
6 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and seeing if your little one is sitting up without help and starting to hold toys in their hands
9 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, and seeing if your active tot has started to crawl or cruise
12 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and possible blood test to check for anemia or lead level (You probably have a walker by this time!)
15 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and seeing what words your little one is saying by now
18 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, and possible screening for any early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
24 Months Assessment
- Weight, development, immunizations, speech, and any of your concerns
Just those first 24 months seem like a lot of well-child visits!! Besides how important they are, these appointments make it a lot of fun to document your child’s early days of life. If you’re the scrapbooking/memory-keeping kind, then the pamphlets they give you at each visit with your bundle of joy’s weights and lengths recorded will make your heart soar for years to come.
Annual checkups begin at age 2. The pediatrician continues to monitor your kiddo’s growth and development. You also get the chance to talk through any concerns you may have at any stage as well. Another important component of these annual well-child visits is to get all the information you need on vaccines and be able to discuss these thoroughly with your child’s physician.
Visits to the Dentist
At first, your cooing babe is all gums.. and then little pieces of rice pop in out of nowhere! While the teething stage is not the most enjoyable for baby or mom, it is a fun milestone. These baby teeth will still need love, even though they won’t be sticking around forever. Starting at age two, it’s a good idea to start making dentist appointments for your child every six months.
During the toddler years, the dentist usually counts their teeth to make sure all is well. When they’re older, the biannual cleanings begin. Depending on how your child’s teeth grow in, or other issues that may arise, the dentist may refer you to an orthodontist.
The eyes are just as important as how tall your child is, how much they weigh, or what percentile they’re in. As a toddler, vision screenings are offered by the pediatrician. In these early years, the screening typically consists of having the kiddo identify different shapes from a certain distance away. Once they start elementary school, you should schedule annual vision exams with an eye doctor – especially if you notice your child squinting or complaining of frequent headaches. Do you, or does another, biological parent have glasses or contacts? Chances are higher that your young one might end up needing them, too.