Baby’s first year
A guide for routine medical care
Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! Like many first-time parents, you may be wishing your baby came home from the hospital with an instruction manual. And while there's no definitive guide to parenting, rest assured (when you can!) that much of baby's well-child care during the first year follows a somewhat standardized schedule. Here's what to expect:
Baby's first checkup
Your baby's first doctor's visit will likely take place just after coming home from the hospital, between 3 and 5 days of age. The doctor will check your baby for jaundice, a condition in which a buildup of a chemical called bilirubin causes baby's skin to turn yellow. If baby seems to be in good health, you'll begin a schedule of regular checkups over the coming months.
At CMC/DHK new parents also have the option to receive care and support in a group visit model with our Centering Parenting program – learn more.
Checkup: Month 1
The doctor will check baby's weight, length and head circumference; perform a physical exam and assess development; answer questions about feeding, vitamins and nutrition; and give advice about what to expect in the next few months. Your baby will likely receive another dose of the hepatitis B vaccine (most babies receive the first dose in the hospital) at this appointment or the next.
Checkups: Months 2 to 9
At the 2-month checkup, the doctor will measure and examine your baby similar to the month before and also give the first of several immunizations. Your baby will likely receive DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis), polio, Hib, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. After this visit, you'll likely schedule well-child visits for 4, 6 and 9 months of age. Each visit will be similar; the doctor will check baby's growth and development and administer vaccine doses as needed. It's recommended that the influenza vaccine be given annually during flu season starting at 6 months of age.
At 12 months, baby will likely start new vaccine series, such as those for measles, mumps and rubella; varicella and hepatitis A. The American Dental Association recommends scheduling a first dental visit after baby's first tooth erupts or by age 1. At this visit, the dentist will examine baby's gums and teeth while he or she sits on your lap and explain proper brushing and flossing techniques.
Visit our Pediatrics department to learn more about infant and toddler health.