What to Expect At A Well-Baby Visit
Going to the doctor with your new baby may feel scary—but we’re here to help! Here’s what to expect at an early well-baby visit, as well as a checklist of everything to bring along.
What is an early well-baby visit?
It’s early check-in with your baby’s pediatrician to make sure they are healthy and seeing all signs of typical development. It is a great place to ask questions, detect and treat any delays, and help parents feel best prepared to care for their child.
When should a well-baby visit take place?
First and foremost, follow the instructions of your doctor. They will let you know when visits should take place for your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that most babies have their first doctor visit when they are 3 to 5 days old. After that, the AAP recommends well-baby visits in the first year at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months. See the list of check-in ages here.
What should you plan to discuss?
The doctor will be checking in on your child’s health, development, and overall well-being. Therefore, doctors will ask questions about their development and functioning.
- They will make sure baby is doing activities such as Tummy Time, remaining calm during diaper changes, etc.
- They will make sure baby is sleeping safely and getting enough sleep.
- They will check in on your child’s motor function.
- They will ask about your child’s feeding
- They may ask you if you’ve noticed any delays or issues in your child’s day-to-day activities. You can always visit our age pages to read about the milestones and abilities your child should reach- -and any signs of delay. If there’s something you want to bring to your child’s healthcare provider sooner than their next well-child visit, you can make an appointment at any time.
- They will be checking in on you as well, to make sure you’re informed on how to best care for your baby, so don’t be afraid to ask them questions about your baby’s care.
Remember that early intervention is key to prevention of further delays and complications—so it is always best to tell the doctor if you’ve seen anything concerning, or if your child is having trouble reaching a certain milestone. If something seems delayed or if you think your child might need extra help, trust your instincts and ask your doctor for their input!
Your well-baby visit checklist
Before the visit:
- Print out and review the Pathways.org Ability and Milestone Checklists. Check your baby to see if they are meeting their developmental milestones.
- If there are any that they are not meeting, just make a note of it! Just be sure to ask your doctor about it at the visit.
- Speak to any caregivers for your baby to see if they have noticed anything in your child that should be brought up to the doctor.
For the visit:
- Your baby needs to be there, as well as at least 1 parent. Your doctor will have questions about how your baby is doing, so it’s recommended that the parent present can accurately answer those questions.
- Bring your checklists with in case any questions come up about their abilities and milestones.
- Bring a pen and notebook, to write down any important information.
- Write down any questions you may have and bring them with the doctor.