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What to Expect During Baby’s First Visit

Even babies who are perfectly healthy go to the doctor a lot. That’s because the first two years are a crucial time in a baby’s growth and development, and your doctor will want to keep close tabs on your baby’s progress. Some will vary slightly, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies get checkups at birth, 3 to 5 days after birth, and then at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months.

At every appointment, starting at birth, a full exam is done looking for normal body function. Ears, eyes, mouth, skin, heart and lungs, abdomen, hips and legs, and genitalia will all get examined to be sure they look healthy. The doctor will always measure the baby’s length, weight, and head circumference. These measurements will be recorded on a growth chart, so you’ll be able to see how your baby compares to other infants their age to make sure there are no signs of problems.

Hearing Screening

Newborns’ tiny ears are so adorable but they are also the doorways to the brain that open up new worlds of learning and growing for your little one. Most children hear and listen to sounds at and even before birth. They learn to talk by imitating the sounds they hear around them and the voices of their parents and caregivers. Your baby’s hearing should be screened before they leave the hospital or birthing center. If not, make sure the baby is tested during the first month of life. If your baby’s hearing was not tested within 1 month of birth, or if you haven’t been told the results of the hearing screening, ask your child’s pediatrician.

Developmental Surveillance

At most visits, the doctor will also gauge whether baby’s development is on track. They’ll make observations of your child’s behaviors, ask you about baby’s milestones (like sitting up and rolling over) and ask you if you have any concerns.

Psychosocial/Behavioral Assessment

Some of the questions the doctor will ask will be about baby’s behavior, and they’ll also observe the child’s actions and reactions. This helps rule out psychological or behavioral issues.