What an exciting time! You and your new baby are headed home from the hospital. It’s exciting and also a little scary to take charge of your little one’s schedule and all that’s involved.
Beyond the routine you establish for taking care of your baby at home, you’ll also need to establish the routine for visits to the pediatrician. Although you probably were briefed on pediatrician visits before you gave birth, it can all seem a little confusing. You’ll need to work with your pediatrician’s office to make appointments at the proper intervals.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly your newborn will be developing during this time. There is a formal schedule of visits that you will follow for the first year. This schedule was created so that your pediatrician can make sure everything stays on track.
The first year of care schedule that we follow at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Below is what you can expect during each visit.
First month: You should plan your first pediatric visit when the baby is 3 to 5 days old. During that visit, the doctor and staff will perform a typical newborn checkup: assessing weight, eating and sleeping habits, condition of the umbilical cord, bowel and urine habits, and doing a head-to-toe physical exam.
Two weeks old: A second newborn checkup including measurement of weight, length and head circumference; assessment of general behavior; and full physical exam. The schedule for the Hepatitis B vaccine will be based on whether the first dose was received at the hospital.
Two-month visit: Repeat of the newborn checkup and a round of immunizations: rotavirus (RV); diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTaP); influenza type B (Hib); pneumococcal vaccine (PCV); inactivated poliovirus (IPV). Some vaccines can be combined to reduce the number of needle sticks.
Four months: A repeat of the same exams as above, as well as blood tests. Second doses of RV, DTaP, Hib, PCV and IPV will be given.
Six months: Once again the same exams are performed and immunizations are given: RV, third doses of DTaP, PCV and possibly Hib. The third doses of IPV may be given any time between 6 and 18 months.
Nine months: Same exams as before plus developmental screening for skills, growth and behavior; and an oral health check.
12 months: Same exams as previously plus blood screening tests. Immunizations include final hepatitis B; third or fourth dose of Hib now or by 15 months; fourth dose of PCV now or by 15 months; third dose of IPV; first dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) now or by 15 months; varicella (chicken pox) now or by 15 months; dose of hepatitis A vaccine now or by 23 months.
As you can see, the first year is the busiest in terms of routine pediatric care, so once you’ve passed this milestone, it’ll be smoother sailing.
More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the first year. The entire staff at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers will be happy to answer any question you have. And because we are open 24 hours a day, you can call us at any time of day or night! How’s that for peace of mind?