After you bring your baby home from the hospital or birthing center, your pediatrician will typically want to schedule a checkup appointment for about a week later. Since this will be a first for both you and your infant, you probably want to know what to expect. Every pediatrician is a bit different, and every baby's need is a bit different, too. In most cases, however, this first visit will involve the following elements.
Length and Weight Assessment
The first thing the pediatrician will typically do is weigh your baby and measure their length. Babies often lose a little weight after they are born, but they should gain most or all of it back by this first appointment, depending on when it is. If your baby is more than a couple ounces under their birth weight, the pediatrician may make some recommendations for increasing their breastmilk or formula intake. Measuring the length, at this point, really just gives the pediatrician a reference for subsequent visits. When they see your baby again in a few weeks, they will want them to be longer/taller.
Checking the Collarbones
A good portion of this first appointment will be dedicated to checking over your baby's collar bone region. The pediatrician will feel along the collarbones for evidence of any fractures. It's really common for babies to break their collarbones while being born, and this is not always detectable until the baby is a few days old. If your baby's collar bone is fractured, the pediatrician may have you swaddle them in a specific way to keep the collarbone stable so it can heal.
The pediatrician will check to ensure your baby has all of the normal reflexes. They'll touch the bottom of the feet to ensure they curl, and they'll startle the baby to ensure they respond normally by sticking their arms out to the side. An absence of reflexes, or weak reflexes, can be an early indicator of a developmental disorder.
Questions and Answers
Finally, the pediatrician will spend some time asking you questions about your baby's sleeping, feeding, and diaper habits. They'll use your answers to assess whether there is any reason to be concerned about your baby's health. You will also have a chance to ask the pediatrician any questions.
Your first pediatrician visit with your baby may be a little stressful, but knowing what to expect will make it better. Rest assured that your pediatrician has your baby's best interests in mind and will do all they can to make this appointment pleasant.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers pediatrician services.