Newborn Care: Well Child Visits
September 5, 2023Health News
The Importance of Maintaining Regular Well Child Visits
By Shawnice Kraeber, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist at Northern Nevada Sierra Medical Center
Whether you just had your first child, or you just brought another baby into the world, newborn care is important. Within 24 hours after mom delivers her new baby, a physician will assess the newborn and prepare the parents for going home. And when you start to settle at home, you should already have well child visits scheduled with your pediatrician.
How often do I need to see a pediatrician?
Your newborn should see their pediatrician around two to three days after coming home from the hospital, which is usually around 3 to 5 days old. After this initial visit, you can expect to revisit your pediatrician at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months old – in the first year. You will also have annual visits at and after their first birthday.
What does the pediatrician look at during the first visit?
The initial pediatric visit includes a full assessment of your newborn. This may include asking about the number of wet and poopy diapers per day, eating patterns and how many ounces the newborn receives daily and whether the newborn is growing – it is normal to lose a small amount of weight in the first few days, and your provider may offer coaching to support your parenting journey.
Are vaccinations required for newborns?
Yes, vaccines are a normal part of your child’s wellness and will be integrated into your pediatric well child visits. The CDC outlines the schedule of vaccines from birth to 15 months old, as well as the vaccine schedule for 18 months to 18 years. We also encourage families to learn more about vaccines through local non-profit Immunize Nevada.
When should I seek medical care for my newborn?
The first few months are a unique experience for parents of a newborn. You are adjusting to life with a new baby, aligning with their feeding and sleeping patterns and learning how to comfort your baby – among many other things. Monitoring the health of your newborn is critical, including understanding when symptoms should be taken seriously.
As a pediatric hospitalist, I follow the sleep, eat, pee and poop method. If your newborn is sleeping too much or hard to wake up, if their eating induces chronic vomiting or they are not getting enough food, and if they have unusual diapers which includes not enough wet diapers or abnormal stool, these are all reasons to seek medical care. In addition, if your newborn is vomiting green liquid, seek care immediately.
Above all, give yourself grace. Raising a newborn is not easy and as parents we are constantly learning how to adapt to our child’s needs. If you maintain regular well child visits with your pediatrician and seek urgent medical care as needed, your child will experience healthy growth and development.