Babies need regular checkups with a pediatrician, especially in their first year. Checkups are also called well-baby visits. As your baby gets older they will need fewer checkups. Regular checkups and vaccines can prevent many childhood health problems.
What Happens at a Checkup
At each well-baby visit, the doctor will watch what your baby can do and ask how you and your baby are doing. You can ask questions and talk about your worries. The doctor will check on your baby’s health and growth. The doctor will also talk and play with your baby to see how they play, learn, speak, act and move.
The doctor will measure your baby’s height and weight and check their vision and hearing. Your baby may have other tests, for things like lead poisoning or low iron in the blood. The doctor will also look at your baby’s mouth and can help you find a dentist for your baby.
Help for Ongoing Illnesses
If your baby has an ongoing health problem, checkups help them get the right treatments and stay as healthy as possible. Checkups can help prevent visits to the emergency room.
Example Checkup Schedule
Schedules can vary, but here are recommended well-baby checks and procedures. Ask your doctor’s office to give you the dates to write in for these checkups.
- Birth to 5 days old: Vision, hearing and blood tests; First vaccine
- By 1 month: May get vaccine
- 2 months: Vaccines
- 4 months: Vaccines
- 6 months: Vaccines
- 9 months: May get vaccines
- 12 months: Blood test for anemia
- 15 months: May get vaccines
- 18 months: May get vaccines
- 24 months: May get vaccines
How to Have a Useful Checkup
- Bring a list of all your baby’s medicines, including over-the-counter medicines and vitamins.
- Bring a list of all your questions about your baby’s health.
- Ask all the questions you have about how your baby is developing.
- Ask how to take your baby’s temperature.
- Try to go to the same doctor or health center for all checkups. The doctor will get to know you and your baby, and their records will be in one place. It may be easier to talk about your concerns if you already know the doctor.
- Ask for a schedule of routine checkups.
- Ask when your baby should have their next shots, and bring their vaccine card to every appointment. See the “About Viruses and Vaccines” page for more information.
- If your baby has been to the hospital or seen a specialist, bring the records. Or have the records sent to the doctor’s office.
- If you need more time to talk, tell the doctor. Ask for a name and phone number to call if you have more questions.
The First Things First Parent Kit was developed in partnership with Health Research for Action/UC Berkeley. © 2022 The Regents of the University of California. Additional video, graphic and other content © 2022 First Things First. All rights reserved.