By the time you hold your newest addition in your arms for the first time, chances are you’ve already chosen one of the most important people in your little one’s early life — a pediatrician.
You and your baby will probably visit the doctor more often during the first year than at any other time. You no doubt will forge a relationship with your baby’s doctor in the coming months that should last through the bumps, bruises and midnight fevers to come.
The First Office Visit
Your newborn should be seen and examined at the doctor’s office within 72 hours after discharge from the hospital to ensure there are no problems that need to be addressed. During the first office visit, your doctor will assess your baby in a variety of ways.
“The first visit is usually full of questions about what is normal for sleep, pooping, peeing and most of all, eating,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Medina. “Parents come with concerns mostly about feeding, such as ‘Why is my baby not taking the breast or bottle well?’ We discuss their concerns in detail at the first visit, give advice for care of their new infant and answer any questions the parents may have.”
At the first visit, your pediatrician will:
- Check your baby’s weight, length and head circumference, and plot the measurements on the growth charts.
- Observe your newborn’s reflexes and behavior.
- Perform a physical exam, which includes an eye exam, listening to your baby’s heart and feeling pulses, inspecting the umbilical cord and checking the hips.
- Offer advice on what you can expect for development in the coming month, such as responding to sound, lifting her head, and focusing and following objects.
- Ask about your home environment and discuss how it might affect your baby’s health. (For example, smoking in the house can harm your baby’s health in many ways.)
And if the results of newborn screening tests are available, they may be discussed with you.
Be sure to bring any questions or concerns to the doctor at this time, and keep a permanent medical record for your baby that includes information about growth, immunizations, medications, and any problems or illnesses. MyChart makes it easy to do so, keeping all this information in one secure place with convenient access.