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How Often Should A One-Month Baby Go for Check Up?
What happens during the first month of your newborn baby, does your baby need to be checked up? In the first weeks after birth, your newborn will begin a series of routine checks. These are called well child visits. All healthcare professionals have individual approaches to the timing and frequency of these visits. In general, you should take your baby for a check-up within a week of birth and then one or two visits during the first month as recommended by your doctor.
During well child visits, the doctor will carry out the following:
o Measure the weight, length and head circumference of the baby. The doctor will plot these measurements on a growth chart to compare earlier and later markings to ensure normal, expected growth of your baby.
o Check your baby’s vision and hearing.
o Check if the cord has fallen off and the umbilical cord is healing well.
o Evaluate the child’s reflexes and general development. He will give an insight into your baby’s feeding and sleep and will ask you if you have noticed any changes in behaviour. Changes to the care and feeding of your baby will be suggested if necessary.
o If your infant is a boy and was circumcised, the doctor will also examine his penis.
o He/she may also take a sample from the child’s heel to test for phenylketonuria (PKU). Although your baby may have been tested for PKU at birth, it is advisable to repeat the test during the first well baby visit, as the test carries a risk of inaccuracy when performed within 48 hours of birth.
o He/she will also give your baby a hepatitis shot during one of these visits and will give you a schedule of the vaccinations your newborn will need at subsequent visits.
These routine baby visits will reassure you about your baby’s progress and give you the opportunity to ask questions about your baby’s care.
How do I choose the best doctor for my newborn? Some parents know their pediatrician even before they become pregnant, while most, especially first-time parents, do not. If you weren’t aware of the doctor and service you want to use for your future baby, don’t be overwhelmed and relax! With a little hard work, you will be able to find a pediatrician you can trust and respect. However, start your search well in advance of your delivery. An optimal way to do this is to search for the names of pediatricians from your trusted sources, which could be your obstetrician, gynecologist, midwife or even relatives, friends, colleagues or neighbors with children who share your parenting and perspectives. You might consider asking them questions such as: “Are their children responding well to the doctor?”, “Is the doctor an experienced pediatrician?”, “Is he knowledgeable about the latest medical advances?”, “Is she welcoming your inquiries and taking care time to discuss them?”
Once you have your list of potential pediatricians, start interviewing them, preferably in person, as this will give you a sense of their style, how they run their office, what the staff and nurses are like, and whether you feel comfortable them. Ideally, you should complete this task about three months before you are due and bring your birth plan with you. You can ask the doctor the following questions during the interview:
o Is she licensed by the state where she practices?
o What are her views on child-rearing issues such as breastfeeding, weaning and nutrition?
o What does she think about the use of antibiotics? (Because of adverse effects and questionable benefits of antibiotics, some pediatricians have restricted their use in children).
o What happens if the baby has to be transferred to an intensive nursery?
o Is she available in the evenings and at weekends?
o Does she have a group or solo practice so your child can see one of the partners in the absence of his doctor?
o Is she covered by the insurance?
o Various other issues like vaccination, proximity to your home, hospital affiliation, etc. may be important to you and need to be addressed.
While interviewing the doctor, pay attention to how well she considers your needs. And also whether you feel comfortable with her or not. Your choice of doctor should be the one that best meets all these criteria!
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