Newborn Care: What Happens at the First-Week Well-Baby Visit

Newborn Care: What Happens at Your Baby’s First Doctor Appointment

Having a new baby brings lots of excitement in the home. But don’t neglect care for them. Find out here what happens at your baby’s first doctor appointment.

If you’ve recently had a new baby, you know how overwhelming it can feel and just how important it is that your little one stays happy and healthy.

Soon after your baby’s birth, you’ll need to schedule your baby’s first doctor appointment, but you might not know what to expect.

This helpful guide will explain what happens during the first-week well-baby visit so you can be prepared and ready. Read on to learn more.

What Your Doctor Looks For

There are several things your doctor will be looking for at the baby’s first doctor appointment. They will weight your newborn and measure how long they are to gauge how they are developing.

Remember that most newborns lose weight before they gain, so your baby may be a bit under their birth weight, but it’s not something that should cause alarm. Breastfed babies take a little longer to regain their birth weight. After around two weeks, most babies will begin gaining weight rapidly.

After the doctor weighs and measures your baby, they will check to see how well the umbilical stump is healing. If your baby was circumcised, the doctor will check this, too.

A common test is performed to look for newborn jaundice. This is a common yet temporary condition where the baby’s skin may appear to look yellow in color. Darker-skinned babies may need to undergo a blood test to check for jaundice.

The doctor will also ask you about sleeping and feeding habits, and ask if there’s anything unusual you need to report. Overall, this first wellness visit is to get a general idea of the overall health of your newborn.

Developmental Checks at Baby’s First Doctor Appointment

One important thing your doctor will examine is how well your baby is developing. Even as young as the first week, babies begin to move their arms and legs on both sides of the body.

Babies can also focus on objects within a range of eight to 15 inches. When your little one stares at your face, they’re actually focusing on you and your features!

Little ones should also begin lifting their head when they’re on their tummy. The doctor will ask you about these small milestones and may check themselves to confirm your newborn is developing as they should.

Remember that all babies develop at a different pace, so there’s no need to worry if yours is not quite there yet. Over time, they will begin to move their bodies more and get stronger with each passing day.

If your doctor feels that there is a delay in development outside of the normal timeframe, they will perform some more tests and examination. Your baby’s doctor will also check for reflexes that are normal at birth.

Checking reflexes ensures that your baby’s brain and nervous system are working as they should. The baby should be using their sucking reflex and should also exhibit the Moro reflex. This reflex happens when the baby has a jumpy reaction when you lay him or her down on their back.

The grasping reflex will also be checked, which is when your baby’s fingers curl up in a little grasp when you stroke their palm. Your doctor will check for the stepping reflex when your little one tries to take steps as you hold them upright. 

Questions From Your Doctor

When you bring your baby in for their first-week wellness check, the doctor will ask you a few simple questions. They will want to know how well your baby is eating and sleeping.

Other questions will include if you’ve noticed any issues with the baby’s eyesight or hearing. The doctor will also ask about bowel movements and how many wet diapers you change in a day.

All of these questions are to determine if your newborn is functioning and developing in a healthy manner. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor why they need to know this information so you can better understand the growing process.

If you want to be prepared for these questions, you can document your baby’s feeding times and frequency. Make a note of their sleeping position and how many hours they sleep at a time.

Most of the questions your doctor asks will be simple, and they’re a quick way for them to gauge just how well your newborn is doing. Remember to be as honest as possible so the doctor can give you advice on how to deal with things like sleeping or feeding issues.

Most babies will get a vaccination for hepatitis B while they’re in the hospital. If your baby did not receive one, the doctor may administer it while you’re at the first-week visit. 

Your baby should not receive any other form of vaccinations at the visit since most babies don’t get their shots until they are at least two months old. If you have questions about vaccinations for your baby, be sure to ask.

Keep Your Baby Healthy with Wellness Checks

Once you know what to expect at your baby’s first doctor appointment, you can take steps to ensure they’re developing in a healthy manner. Don’t hesitate to ask the doctor any questions you have or any concerns you may be worried about.

With a first-week wellness check, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your little one is happy and on the road to a healthy life. 

If you’re in the Brooklyn area and need care for yourself or your family, be sure to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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