Your baby’s first well visit to the doctor is an important event that helps to set you both on the path to good health. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will feel caring for your child in the future.

What to Expect
Here are some things you can expect at that visit.

From the Doctor

  • Carefully weigh and measure your baby, paying attention to the size and shape of the head and the “soft spot” in the scalp.
  • Check eyes to make sure they can follow or “track” an object or light and the size and shape of the pupils will be observed. Your doctor will direct a pinpoint of light into the pupil to determine if the lens is clear.
  • Stimulate your baby with sound, such as a bell or the clapping of hands, to make sure that hearing is intact.
  • Observe the skin for abnormal color, rash, or bumps.
  • Listen to the heart and lungs for any unusual sounds.
  • Examine the belly button (umbilicus) for evidence of a hernia and to make sure healing is occurring.
  • Examine the hips for any evidence of dislocation.
  • Carefully feel your baby’s belly for any unusual bulges or tenderness.
  • Test muscle resilience, reflexes and general reactions of your baby’s body to movement and position to measure the ability of the nervous system to do its job properly. Part of this process involves assessing the symmetry of movement and the strength of the muscle groups on each side of the body.

For the parent or caregiver

  • Generally, no immunizations or tests of any kind will be done at this first routine visit.
  • Your doctor will ask you about your baby’s bowel movements, spitting up, and the amount and duration of each feeding.
  • This will be a good opportunity to ask questions about sleep, fussy periods, and visits.

It may be routine, but this first visit will determine the initial health and stamina of your baby and get you both ready for the years ahead.