The First 6 Months: Why So Many Visits?

Some new parents may question why they need to take their baby in to see the pediatrician several times in the child's first year. Not counting sick visits, most pediatricians want parents to bring in their children around 6 times in their first 6 months of life: birth, 4-5 days after birth, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months. As someone who previously went to the doctor maybe once a year before having a child, you may wonder why this is necessary. In order to help you feel better about the time you will spend, here is a list of the basics of what will happen at each appointment:

Birth

Some measurements will be taken at every appointment. These include weight, length (height), and head circumference. The pediatrician will check each body system to make sure that the baby's body is functioning properly. Skin tone, reflexes, and alertness are especially crucial at these first visits, since they can be indicators of common problems found at birth, such as jaundice and cognitive defects. If parents so choose, their child will also receive their first dose of vaccinations at birth.

4-5 Days After Birth

Pediatricians will recheck all major body systems, especially weight, in order to make sure that the baby is functioning well and getting enough to eat.

1 Month Visit

At the one month visit, your baby will again be tested to make sure that his/her body is functioning as it should. Some things like hearing may be easier to test at this visit, since the baby may be more alert.

2 Month Visit

If you have chosen to vaccinate, this visit is when your baby will receive the bulk of their shots. These immunizations include the first shot in the series for RV (Rotavirus vaccine), DTap (Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis, or whooping cough), PCV (the Pneumococcal Vaccine), and IPV (the inactivated poliovirus vaccine).

4 Month Visit

Again, all of the normal measurements will take place, in addition to testing for specific organ systems. Baby will also receive the second immunization in the series for most of their vaccinations.

6 Month Visit

The third and final immunization in the series will be administered, as well potential testing for lead and blood count levels. At this point the baby should be gaining weight steadily and eating more solid foods, allowing for patterns to be easily seen in their eating habits.

For more information about the importance of your baby's first few doctor visits, you can contact clinics like Port City Pediatrics.

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