Lesson 28: Baby’s first trip to the pediatrician

If you haven’t found a pediatrician for your newborn, check out my post on choosing a pediatrician.

We had to take J to the pediatrician frequently during his first couple of weeks of life so that they could monitor his bilirubin. By the 4th time they gave him a heel prick to take blood, I was a blubbering mess. I don’t know if it was the crazy postpartum hormones, or just my heart hurting because they were “hurting my baby.” But I did not like it!

The first couple of rounds of vaccines were the same way–I cried. But I guess you just get used to it, I don’t know. Now my eyes only water–I manage to keep the waterworks turned off. Point is, it really is harder on you than it is on them.

Your baby’s first routine well visit will be around at 2 weeks. The pediatrician will ask questions pertaining to your and your partner’s health history, the pregnancy and the birth. Make sure to provide any necessary information, such as that regarding any complications during pregnancy or birth. Also remember to bring Baby’s birth stats, as well as his stats at the time you checked out of the hospital.

Be prepared to answer lots of questions about how much your child is eating (in ounces if he’s on formula and how long if he nurses), how long he’s sleeping, how many wet diapers he has per day, how many poopy diapers he has…and what the poop looks like. My husband and I carefully recorded all of the above for the first few weeks until we realized that our son was, in fact, not a science project.

The point of this visit isn’t only to check the physical well-being of Baby, but also to help educate parents. Use this time to ask questions!

At all of your baby’s well visits, you can expect the pediatrician to check weight, length and head circumference and s/he will also give your baby a basic physical examination. The doctor will monitor your baby’s development and ask you basic questions about your parenting habits. In addition to these things, this is what you can expect to happen at each well visit:

  • 1 month – check to make sure the belly button is healing well; check to make sure circumcision is healing well (if applicable); hepatitis B vaccine. Issues typically addressed at this visit: eating, sleeping and pooping habits.
  • 2 months – hepatitis B, pneumococcal, DTaP, Hib, rotavirus and polio vaccines; check for flat spots on baby’s head. Issues typically addressed at this visit: breastfeeding and pumping if mom is returning to work.
  • 4 months – DTaP, Hib, polio, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. Issues typically addressed at this visit: bedtime routines, rolling over, mini-pushups, vocal noises.
  • 6 months – hepatitis B, DTaP, polio, pneumococcal, rotavirus and Hib vaccines; J also received his first flu vaccine at this time because he was old enough and it was flu season (the first time your child gets a flu shot s/he will probably need to go back in 2 weeks for a booster–check with your doctor). Issues typically addressed at this visit: sleep training and child proofing.
  • 9 months – Unless she missed any, she doesn’t have to get any vaccines this time! Yay! Issues typically addressed at this visit: your baby’s temperament and behavior.
  • 12 months –  Hib, pneumococcal, polio, varicella, MMR and hepatitis A vaccines. Issues typically addressed at this visit: teeth, pulling up, crawling or walking, vocabulary, social skills and discipline.
  • 18 months – DTap and hepatitis A vaccines. Issues typically addressed at this visit: signs of toilet-training readiness and temper tantrums.
  • 24 months – No immunizations!  Issues typically addressed at this visit: sibling rivalry, preschool and socialization activities.

Here’s my Sweet Baby J at his first visit to the pediatrician.

Also, as an aside lesson, one size does not fit all.

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