New parents often have a lot of questions about parenting, and one of the questions might relate to well-visits for their child. When you have a new baby, you should be prepared to visit your pediatrician many times for well-visits, and these visits are designed for many purposes, including the following three:
Monitoring growth and development
Well visits occur more frequently before the age of two, and after that they generally occur only once each year. During a typical well-visit, the pediatrician will weigh and measure the child. He or she will also physically examine the child, which often requires removing all the baby's clothes, except his or her diaper. As the child gets older, removing the clothes is not necessary though.
The pediatrician will input the measurements into the computer and may print a growth chart for you to take home. This is done to make sure the child is growing at the right pace.
In addition to physical measurements, the pediatrician will also ask you questions about the child's emotional and mental development. The questions asked depend on the age of the child, but they may include things like:
- Does the child smile?
- Is he or she reaching for toys?
- How many words can the child say?
- Is the child potty trained?
The answers to these questions will help the doctor determine if the child is developing at the right pace mentally.
Staying current with immunizations
Pediatricians issue immunizations based on the requirements set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You will receive an immunization card when the child is born, and the doctor will fill this out each time the child receives vaccinations.
While there is controversy over whether these shots are safe or not, most pediatricians believe they are. Keeping your child up-to-date with these will protect him or her, and your doctor will make sure the child gets all the shots that are needed and required.
Addressing concerns, questions, and problems
The third main point of a well-visit is to allow you to ask questions to the doctor or state concerns you have. Before you attend the appointment, you may want to spend some time thinking about the questions you have. By doing this, you can have time to write them down and ask the doctor everything you wonder about.
Taking your new baby to the doctor will be something you do often as the child grows up, and keeping up with the child's well-visits is an important part of raising a healthy child. To learn more about these visits, contact your child's pediatrician (such as one from Ada Pediatrics PA).