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December 2020

Why Well-Child Visits Matter More Than You Might Think

Taking your baby to see a doctor is important when your little one is sick. But going to regular well-child visits can be just as important.

These visits occur every few weeks or months for the first year and a half. Think of them as checkups for your child’s growth and learning. The pediatrician will look at how your child is developing in several key areas:

  • Physical

  • Emotional

  • Social

The goal is to make sure things are going as expected. You will have a chance to share any concerns you have.

What to expect

Well-child visits from birth to 15 months old include:

  • Measurements to see how much your child has grown since the last visit

  • Physical exam to check your child’s health from head to toe

  • Screenings for hearing and vision problems, lead exposure, and more

  • Vaccines to protect your child from several serious illnesses

You and your child’s pediatrician might also discuss:

  • Feeding your child

  • Keeping your child safe at home and in the car

  • Supporting your child’s speech and learning

  • Creating bedtime routines

How you can help

You play a key role at well-child visits. Share information about what your child is doing at home. Go head—brag about the big milestones! Be open about any challenges that come up.

You may want to write down your top three to five questions before the visit. That way, you won’t forget to ask them. Your child’s pediatrician can be a great resource for helpful advice.

Older kids and teens

As your child grows older, well-child visits are spaced further apart. But they’re still very important. One helpful part of the visits is called anticipatory guidance. This involves you, your child, and your child’s pediatrician talking about key issues that may come up soon. The issues are geared to your child’s age. Examples are bike helmets, time limits for electronic devices, and not smoking.

Your child’s pediatrician will suggest tips and tools for dealing with these issues. Feel free to ask questions and talk about your concerns. This helps the pediatrician give the best advice for your family’s needs.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rina Lazebnik, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2020
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