Why well-baby visits are essential

Appointments allow pediatricians to check growth, development

N. A. Hernandez, Contributing writer

It is crucial that you always keep the well-baby visit appointments with your baby's pediatrician. These visits are designed at just the right stages in your baby's developments to help the doctor check on the growth and development of your child.

Each one of your baby's visit with his/her doctor will go through some of the same routine things such as:

  • Height and weight as well as baby's head circumference
  • Head to toe examination
  • Ask you questions about baby

At certain stages your baby will be given immunizations, which are never fun for you or your baby. His/her 12-month well-baby visit is unfortunately a time where immunizations are necessary. Your baby will receive the following shots: DtaP, Hib, Polio, MMR and the Varicella vaccine, which is the chicken pox immunization.

Immunizations are important for protecting your child from certain conditions and help build up their immune system. So never put off getting your baby's immunizations.

Each immunization is important for different reasons and sometimes they can be combined so your child doesn't have to be poked with too many needles. The 12-month well-baby visit may be a bit tougher for you since your baby is probably walking by now. But, rest assured, the immunizations will start to slow down after the first year of your baby's life.

At your baby's 12-month well-baby visit his/her doctor will also check your child's eyesight and hearing to make sure he or she is developing correctly. During the full examination, the doctor will address any concerns that he or she sees, such as cradle cap, baby acne or diaper rashes.

The pediatrician just wants to check on the developmental skills of your child and ask questions like:

  • How much, how often and what is he/she eating?
  • How is your baby sleeping?
  • Questions about his/her bowel movement and how often he/she urinates.
  • What sounds does baby make, is he/she trying to talk?
  • How does baby respond to you when you are interacting with him/her?
  • Is baby interested in things around them?
  • Is your baby teething or already have teeth?
  • How are baby's gross motor skills developing?
  • How are baby's fine motor skills?
  • Is your baby beginning to or already walking?
  • Is baby pointing at objects?

The pediatrician should recommend, if they haven't already, that you crawl around your house on your baby's level and child proof your home since he or she is now becoming more active. This is a very important thing that you should do the moment your child starts to move around throughout your house. You want to make sure that any potential harmful situations are totally avoided and that you always watch your baby very carefully.

Your baby's doctor should ask you if you have any questions and or concerns. This is the time to ask away, no matter how silly you may think the question is. You want to make sure that you know all the facts and take the best care of your child that you possibly can.

Make sure that you follow the guidelines that your pediatrician recommends on introducing solids to your baby. You want to make sure that you do not try too much at once so that you can keep track of any possible allergic reactions.