The Newborn Well-Visit Schedule You Should Be Following with Your Austin Pediatrician
Congratulations on your new baby! If this is your first child, you probably have plenty of questions, and even if you have a house full of children, you may need a few reminders. One of the most common questions parents of new babies have for their Austin pediatrician is when they are supposed to bring their baby in for their appointments.
First, let’s talk about bringing your newborn baby into a provider’s office. As any experienced parent will tell you, taking your newborn anywhere is rarely an easy task. Between the naps, feedings, and all the required gear, a trip to the pediatrician takes a lot of planning and effort, and if we know anything about babies, plans and schedules often go out the window.
Fortunately, you do not need to wake your baby, adjust your baby’s schedule too much, or even leave your house to see an Austin pediatrician. You can have an Austin concierge pediatrician come to you instead.
Concierge physicians are rising in number and popularity, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the effort to get to a provider’s office, there’s always the risk of exposure to sick children at an office. Some physician’s offer divided waiting rooms for sick and well children or a separate entrance for newborns, but there are still common touchpoints to consider and as we have learned, some viruses are highly airborne.
To reduce risk, parents are opting for in-home provider visits. Your newborn can sleep up until or even throughout the visit and stay on their feeding schedule as well. This can be a huge relief for a new parent trying to establish some sort of schedule for their baby.
As a new parent, you may not realize that you will be seeing your baby’s pediatrician or provider many times, even if your child is not ill. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends your child see their provider the first week of their life and then every month or so until they are three. According to the Bright/Futures/AAP periodicity schedule, your baby should have a well-check at the following ages:
- Newborn (first week)
- 2 weeks old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 12 months old
- 15 months old
- 18 months old
- 24 months old
- 30 months old
- 3 years old
- And then every year going forward
During your baby’s well-check examination, your Austin pediatrician will follow the AAP guidelines. Here is what you can expect they will be looking at during the well-check appointments:
- Checking initial/interval health status and past examinations (all examinations)
- Length and weight (all examinations)
- Head circumference (all examinations through 24th month)
- Weight for length (all examinations through 18th month)
- Body mass index (BMI) (beginning at 24 months and then every examination afterwards)
- Blood pressure (based on risk until baby is 3 years old and then every examination afterwards)
- Vision (based on risk until baby is 3 years old and then every examination afterwards)
- Hearing (first week examination, then based on risk until child is 4 years old, then varies afterwards)
- Developmental screening (9, 18 and 30-month examinations)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder Screening (18 and 24-month examination)
- Developmental surveillance (most examinations throughout adolescence)
- Maternal depression screening (1, 2, 3 and 4-month examinations)
Physical Examination (all examinations)
- Newborn blood (upon birth and again anytime between the baby’s first week and 2 month appointment)
- Newborn bilirubin (upon birth)
- Critical congenital heart defect (upon birth)
- Immunization (see below section)
- Anemia (based on risk at 4 months, during the 12-month examination, and then based on risk every examination afterwards)
- Lead (based on risk beginning at 6 months)
- Tuberculosis (based on risk beginning at 1st month appointment)
- Dyslipidemia (based on risk beginning at 24 month appointment)
Anticipatory Guidance (during every examination)
The next point is about vaccines during well-child visits. Well-child visits occur regularly the first 15 months of your child’s life because they are growing rapidly and require vaccinations at each visit. AAP provides immunization schedules each year. Currently, the AAP recommends 10 vaccines spaced out over 15 months.
Your newborn will receive the first of three Hepatitis B vaccines shortly after birth. During your subsequent well-child visits with your Austin pediatrician, with your permission and per the most recent CDC guidelines, your child will receive additional Hepatitis B vaccines, at least two Rotovirus vaccines, four doses of Diptheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccines, several influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, inactivated poliovirus vaccines, a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine, a Varicella VAR vaccine, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.
While this may sound like a lot, keep in mind all of these vaccines have been rigorously tested and tracked over decades. Your Austin pediatrician will go over risks and potential side effects with you during your in-home visits. For more information on the importance of having your child immunized, visit the AAP’s website to see an immunization chart and explanation of each vaccine, the CDC and vaccines.gov.
Getting the Most Out of Your Home Visits
As you can see, your Austin pediatrician is quite busy assessing the “wellness” of your child during these visits. These are important appointments because they help your provider monitor your child’s physical and behavioral development, identifying any issues or potential issues early on for preventative and proactive care. The beauty of having your provider come to your home is that you get more individual time with him or her, time to get your questions answered and time to build a relationship.
In order to get everything you desire out of the appointment, consider these tips:
Your provider will be able to spend as much time with you as needed, but write down your questions, concerns and topics you’d like to discuss beforehand. This will prevent you from forgetting even the smallest things you may later wish you had asked. Remember, your provider is there as much for you as for your baby. If you have any concerns or need to better understand anything, do not hesitate to write it down and discuss it with your provider while he or she is there.
Document Feedings and Diaper Changes
One of the things your provider may want to know is how frequently and how much your baby is eating. It’s a good idea to keep track of this for yourself and for your provider. There are plenty of mobile apps available to make it easy, or you can do it the old fashioned way and just write it down. If there is an issue with your baby’s weight, this documentation will make it much easier to see your baby’s intake is the issue.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
As a new parent, you may quickly come to realize that certain things get put on the side burner. It’s not uncommon to go all day without brushing your teeth or changing out of your pajamas. Being a new parent is exhausting and it can take weeks before you feel like you have time to do anything but care for your baby.
Don’t feel like you need to clean up your home or worry about appearances. This is yet another benefit of in-home visits. You will get to know your provider well during all of these well-child visits and they will in no way expect you or your home to be pristine. Relax, stay comfortable and know your baby will get excellent care without much effort on your part.