Baby's First Pediatrician Visit: Your Expert Guide

Baby's First Pediatrician Visit: Your Expert Guide

Congratulations, new mama! You did it!

Now for the next bit. 😅

Going to your baby’s first pediatrician visit can be daunting, especially for first-time moms.

You might be feeling anxious, unprepared, and afraid of being judged by your doctor.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, top tips from Dr. Kaajal Singhal on what to expect and what you can do beforehand to make the experience less stressful.

Let’s go!

In this article: 📝

  • How soon after birth do you see a pediatrician?
  • What to expect on your baby’s first visit to the pediatrician?
  • What should newborn wear to first pediatrician appointment?
  • What should you ask your pediatrician?
  • How many times does a baby see a pediatrician in the first year?

How soon after birth do you see a pediatrician?

Once your baby is born, there are two physical screening examinations recommended – the first within 72 hours of birth (known as the NIPE or Newborn and Infant Physical Examination) and the second at 6-8 weeks old.

These examinations are done to make sure that your baby is developing correctly and to check for any problems with their eyes, heart, hips, or testicles (in boys).

For the majority of babies, the first one is done in the hospital.

The second one is carried out by your GP and scheduled for 6-8 weeks.

For some mamas, this might well be your baby’s first doctor appointment outside of the hospital!

What is a day 5 check for a newborn?

Around day 5, healthcare providers (usually a midwife) will typically perform a thorough examination to ensure your babe is thriving in those crucial early days.

Your baby will be offered a heel prick (blood spot) test which screens for nine rare but serious diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease.

A small device is used to prick the baby’s heel to get some blood.

The blood is then collected onto a special card which is sent for testing.

It can be a bit scary to watch and make your baby cry, so make sure to give them a cuddle or feed them after!

What happens at a baby’s 2-week check-up?

Much like their 5-day check-up, your babe gets a thorough once-over to ensure they’re thriving.

The health visitor will likely delve into vital stats like weight gain, feeding patterns, and general development.

It’s not just about the numbers; it’s a chance to address any concerns you might have and get expert advice on navigating the early days.

What happens at a 6-8 week baby check?

This is essentially the same physical examination that your baby had within 72 hours of birth.

It is repeated because some conditions can develop or become more obvious after the first examination.

A 6-8 week baby check includes a full head-to-toe physical examination of your baby with a more detailed examination of their eyes, hearts, hips, and testicles.

The doctor will check your baby’s eyes for any cataracts, listen to their heart for any unusual sounds, check the hips for any instability or dislocation, and look out for any undescended testes.

Now you might be thinking, why those four areas in particular?

That’s because research shows abnormalities in these areas can be treatable but require early detection and management.

What to expect on your baby’s first visit to the pediatrician?

As well as examining your baby, the doctor will want to find out more about how you and your baby are doing.

Don’t worry, it’s not a test!

You don’t need to know the exact details or make a record (although this can be very helpful).

A general idea is good enough!

Specific things to keep an eye on:

  • Feeding: How often is your baby feeding? How long do they feed for (if breast-fed) or how much do they drink (if bottle-fed)? Any vomiting?
  • Pooping and peeing: How many wet diapers per day? How many dirty diapers per day? Any blood or mucus in the poop? It might seem strange that someone can be so invested in your baby’s poop and pee, but the number of nappies is actually very useful in checking how well a baby is feeding (especially if they’re breast-fed).
  • Fevers: If they’ve had a fever, how high was/is it? How was it recorded? If you used a thermometer, what kind of thermometer (as some are more accurate than others)?
  • Behaviour and sleep: How active are they usually? Are they sleeping more than normal? What are their sleeping practices?
  • Any rashes or colds?
  • Your mental health: It’s important to talk about your mental health to your doctor, because they won’t judge, and there are ways they can help.

If you’re in the UK, remember your red book!

This is your baby’s personal child health record (PCHR).

It has a red cover on it and is often called the “red book”.

Take this book with you every time your baby needs to see a doctor or a nurse.

During the appointment, a nurse or a doctor will usually check your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference and then plot it against a graph in the red book.

The red book is used to monitor how your baby is growing, keep a record of their injections and track their developmental milestones.

What should newborn wear to first pediatrician appointment?

It’s generally best to keep baby’s fashion choices to the simplest options for their first pediatrician visit.

In order to examine your baby properly and get their correct measurements, the doctor or nurse will ask you to undress your baby.

So save yourself the hassle and keep the fancy baby clothes for another time.

Choose a simple outfit that can easily come off, like a zip up onesie.

Super-cute, too!

For the prepared mama, you might want to pack a diaper bag with all your essentials.

Extra diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for your baby (and yourself), a blanket, pacifier, extra feeds, burp cloths… you get the idea.

What should you ask your pediatrician?

Whether you’re a first time mama or an experienced mama, you’ll probably have a few questions you’ll want to ask your doctor.

However, when the time comes, it can be hard to remember them on the spot (we’ve all been there!).

As you go along, keep a note of any questions or concerns that you have in a notebook or on your phone.

This way you don’t have to try and think of them all in one go.

Remember there are no silly questions!

Ask away.

Not sure what to ask? Here are some of the more common questions doctors get asked at baby’s first pediatrician visit:

  • Is my baby getting enough vitamin D and iron? Should I be giving my baby any supplements?
  • How do I know if my baby is lactose intolerant?
  • What color should my baby’s poop be?
  • How do I know if my baby is constipated?
  • When should my baby start responding to sound?
  • What can I do to help my baby’s development?
  • Do you recommend pacifiers?
  • How should I take my baby’s temperature?
  • When should I call or bring my baby for consultation?
  • What’s the recommended vaccination schedule?
  • What should I be doing next?

How many times does a baby see a pediatrician in the first year?

Typically, babies have a series of well-child visits at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months.

These check-ups are like growth chart milestones, tracking your babe’s development, vaccinations, and giving you a chance to fire away with all those parenting questions.

But if you want to see your pediatrician between visits, you usually can arrange those with them, too.

From those first tentative moments in the waiting room to the gentle reassurance of a skilled pediatrician, each visit is a step toward ensuring your babe is thriving and growing.

These appointments aren’t just about charts and numbers; they’re a chance for you to ask your burning questions and get support from your healthcare provider.

Baby’s first pediatrician visit can feel pretty daunting, but you’re in safe hands.

You’ve got this, mama.


Close accordion
Popular on the blog
Trending in our community