Your newborn’s first doctor’s visit may be the first time you leave the house with your baby, and it can feel a little stressful 🙃
Typically, it’s scheduled 3 to 5 days after birth, though it can happen sooner if your baby has jaundice or another health concern. It can also happen later, depending on your baby’s pediatrician.
A little preparation can make this first doctor’s visit go smoother—for you and your baby.
Leading up to the checkup
Schedule intentionally. You may want to ask if your child’s doctor offers newborn-specific hours or has a well-child waiting area so you can keep your vulnerable newborn away from children who are sick. You can also request to schedule your visit for the office’s least-busy time of day.
Write down questions as you think of them. Keep a running list of questions or concerns you may have about feeding, sleep, diapers, behavior, schedule, bathing, or anything else, so you don’t have to think of them all at once. If you forget something, don’t worry—you can always call the doctor’s office later.
Tune into wet diapers. The doctor will likely ask about your baby’s feeding and how many wet diapers they’re producing each day. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly—just try to give the doctor a general sense.
The day of your newborn’s first doctor’s appointment
Pack your diaper bag. You’ll need your insurance card, and a photo ID. Also bring extra diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for your baby, burp cloths, and a blanket.
While the appointment will likely be fairly short, you may need to squeeze in a feeding at some point. Consider packing pumped milk or formula if you’re bottle-feeding, or a nursing cover if you’re more comfortable breastfeeding that way. You may also want to throw in a snack and water for yourself.
Dress your baby in simple clothes. You’ll need to undress your baby during the appointment. Opt for a simple onesie and, depending on the weather, add layers as needed to keep your baby warm. Save the super cute outfit for another excursion.
Give yourself plenty of time to get out the door. Getting your newborn fed, changed, dressed, and buckled into a car seat can take more time than you might think, especially when you also need to get yourself ready. Budget more time than you think you’ll need.
At the doctor’s visit
Don’t be alarmed if your baby has lost weight. At the appointment, your child will be measured and weighed. Newborns typically lose some weight in the days after birth. This is normal and expected, and your baby should regain that weight within the first two weeks of life. Breastfed babies may drop even more weight, as it can take some time for milk supply to build.
Don’t put too much stock in percentiles. If you are a first-time parent, this appointment will likely be your first introduction to a growth chart. Your baby’s weight, length, and head circumference will be measured and plotted along with a percentile. Anything between 5% and 95% is considered normal. Over the coming months, your pediatrician will be looking for steady growth, so try to resist getting hung up on the numbers right now.
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