Preparing For Your Baby’s 1st Pediatrician Visit
Know what the best questions to ask are.
When you finally take your newborn home, you may just feel like breathing a big sigh of relief. This moment’s been a long time coming—and it’s so worth savoring—be sure to take it all in, along with your little one’s sweet baby scent.
However, even though your mommying would have only just begun, the two of you will already have a special outing on the horizon. You likely know that you have to take them to their first pediatrician at some point. But when exactly should your baby’s first doctor appointment be? (Hint: Possibly sooner than you may think.) Plus, where do you start? And what should you ask?
Fret not. Just as we have helpful checklists for a birthing plan, nursery, delivery, and diaper bag, we’ve got you covered when it comes to your newborn’s first checkup. We’re going over everything you should know about when to schedule their first pediatrician visit and some of the top first pediatrician visit questions to ask while you’re there. You’ll also find out what to expect during your baby’s first doctor’s visit. Keeping reading for your guide to all things kiddy doc.
How Soon Should I See a Pediatrician After Birth?
You may have just left your midwife or a hospital full of doctors, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends taking your newborn to their first pediatrician within two to three days after bringing your little bundle home. That’s right: The answer to when to schedule the first pediatrician visit is not only soon—it’s super soon. Especially if you breastfeed, it’s important for your pediatrician to evaluate how your newborn’s been feeding, their weight gain, and their overall appearance at your baby’s first checkup. From there, the doc may have you make small tweaks to your feeding schedule and overall care to ensure that your newborn is getting proper nutrition and doing as well as possible.
Then, plan on making frequent pediatrician visits throughout your infant’s first year to track their progress such as their growth and important milestones. Generally, after the initial checkup, your baby’s first doctor appointments should be around when they’re 2 to 4 weeks old, then 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. They can then be when they’re 15 and 18 months, then 2 years old. After that, plan on only annual checkups. If your pediatrician follows a different timeline, the AAP recommends discussing it with them. And, of course, if you’re ever concerned about your child, whether they have the sniffles or something more worrisome, you can always check with your doc to see if visit may be needed.
Mommy Pro Tip: If you can, try to evaluate and find a pediatrician for your baby in the months leading up to your due date. That way, you’ll be all set from day one of your infant’s arrival. Find out how to identify the right one with this guide.
What Should I Bring to My First Pediatrician Visit?
With the interview out of the way—and after your baby arrives (Hooray!)—it’s time for your little one to visit their first pediatrician. Grab your diaper bag and be sure to bring the below.
- Driver’s license or photo ID
- Insurance cards
- Insurance referrals or preauthorizations
- Insurance copay
- Your baby’s immunization record, likely from the hospital
- Relevant medical records if your child has had lab tests, X-rays, or allergies
- Your pharmacy’s contact info
What Should I Ask at My Baby’s First Pediatrician Visit?
Sure, your baby’s first pediatrician is a medical doctor, but, keep in mind, they’re also a childcare expert. If you have any questions about parenting groups, childcare, or other assistance, they’ll be a valuable resource. So, before your baby’s first checkup, make a list of any questions you may have along with these mommy FAQs.
How much sleep your infant should be getting: Newborns are masters of sleep. For the first couple of months, they’ll spend about 16 to 17 hours a day sleeping—albeit in spurts throughout the day. And they can conk out just about anywhere. Just make sure that, if they’re in their room, you have these nursery safety guidelines in place.
Mommy Pro Tips: Dive deeper into all things baby sleep from day one to 18 months with our handy baby sleep guide. Then, go even further so you’re prepared for the future and learn how much sleep toddlers and older children should get.
How much crying is normal for newborns: Crying is a fact of baby life. But we know how rattling it can be for you both—which can quickly make it seem like cause for concern. However, it’s completely normal for your infant to cry a total of two or three hours each day in their first 3 months, with their tears reaching a crescendo in their first 6 to 8 weeks. (Thankfully, there are tactics you can try to help calm them down.) If they cry more than that, there could be something else going on, so let your pediatrician know. And it could even be some fairly harmless—yet bothersome—issues like gas or colic, which are often confused with each other.
There are many causes of infant gas, but also ways to help prevent it, as well as certain signs you can look for, like if they’re stiffening, arching their back, straining, or, of course, tooting away. Fortunately, there are different things you can do to help relieve them, in addition to our Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Drops in either our dye-free or original formulas. They’ve been the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand for generations. The active ingredient, simethicone, quickly breaks gas bubbles down to help your baby naturally release them—plus, it’s never absorbed into your baby’s system.
Signs of colic are different, and include the Big 3s: crying for more than three hours a day, for three or more days a week, for three weeks or more. It’s best to let your pediatrician know any of these symptoms and get a proper diagnosis. And if they do have colic, you can try our Infants’ Mylicon Daily Probiotic Drops. They can reduce crying and fussiness associated with colic by 50% or more over time, in addition to supporting healthy digestion and immunity.
Mommy Pro Tips: Learn more about the difference between gas drops and other purported remedies such as gripe water. Then, dig further into the benefits of probiotics for babies.
Is there something funny in my baby’s diaper: Back to the kiddy doc Q’s. Your infant’s digestive system is also in its infancy, and so, when they’re a newborn, what’s in their diaper can appear different from day to day. Be sure to let your pediatrician know what you’re seeing, and be on the lookout for black, white, red, or hard poop, as they may be signs of something more serious. Along the same lines, now would be an excellent time to ask them about how many diapers your infant should go through in a day.
If your baby is eating well: It’s of utmost importance that your baby gets enough nutrition, especially in their early months. Tell your pediatrician how much they’ve been eating, when, and any concerns you may have such as spitting up (which is usually normal, but it’s best to let your doc know how much it’s happening). You can even track your little one’s eating habits by keeping a food diary or log and bringing it with you to your pediatrician visit.
What length of time you can store formula or breast milk in the fridge: Whether you bottle-feed or breastfeed, you’ll want to be sure that any formula or breast milk you keep in the fridge stays fresh to avoid any bacterial growth. You can check the manufacturer’s instructions on the package your formula comes in. And go by the CDC’s recommendation to toss breast milk after four days.
How often & in what way you should bathe your child: It’s generally recommended that you sponge bathe your infant until their umbilical cord (and, if he’s a boy, his circumcision) has healed. Your kiddy doc can fill you in on the deets, and let you know how often you should scrub-a-dub-dub them. Generally, it’s two to three times a week. They can also let you know how to keep your kid safe during baths, as well as how to best care for that baby-soft skin.
What Does the Pediatrician Do at the First Baby Visit?
Last but not least: What you can expect at your baby’s first doctor appointment. Your kiddy doc will be looking specifically at a few things to be sure your baby is healthy and progressing well.
Mommy Pro Tip: It’s helpful to take your partner or a support person with you to pediatrician visits, especially when your kid is still an infant. That way you can focus on your conversation with your pediatrician, instead of dressing, undressing, and tending to your infant while they’re being examined.
Growth: They’ll weigh and measure your little one, then plot them on a graph to track their progress each visit and provide you with the percentile they fall into as compared to other children.
Sight: Your doctor will shine a light into your baby’s eyes to make sure they’re healthy and clear.
Mouth: Checking their mouth can let them know if there’s an infection brewing or not. And, later, it will help to track your baby’s teething progress.
Hearing: The pediatrician will check inside both ears to be sure they’re free of fluid and infection. Then, they’ll check your child’s hearing to see how they respond to sounds.
Head: All babies are born with soft spots in their skulls because their bones haven’t fused together yet. Your doc will check these to be sure they look and feel normal. (The soft spot in the back should close by the time they’re 2 or 3 months old, while the one in the front usually takes until they’re about 18 months of age.)
Heart & lungs: By listening to their heart in their chest and their lungs in their back, your pediatrician will check that there are no abnormal heartbeats, breathing issues, or sounds.
Tummy: Pressing on your baby’s belly, the doctor will be sure there’s no unusual tenderness or abnormal masses, and that your little one’s organs are a normal size.
Private parts: Your pediatrician will check these areas at each visit to ensure there are no signs of infection, unusual lumps, or tenderness. If you have a boy, they’ll also be sure their circumcision (if applicable) is healing properly and, later, that their testes have dropped (at around 9 months). If your son was a preemie, it may take a bit longer.
Legs & hips: Moving your little one’s legs around will allow your pediatrician to be sure there aren’t any dislocations or dysplasia, since early detection is key to proper correction.
Next: You may have noticed prior to giving birth and afterward that you feel a little foggy and forgetful. Try not to let it concern you (of course, if it does, speak to your doctor). Pregnancy brain isn’t a myth—50-80% of moms experience it. We know, it can be a bit bothersome, but it has real benefits for mommying and years beyond. For real! Read all about them and baby brain.