Well-baby checkups are considered to be one of the vital steps in monitoring the growth of the baby. The first well-baby exam is done within 3-5 days after birth. The check-ups are to be done in every 2-4 months for the first year. The main aspects that are checked during the checkups may include:
- Baby’s length
- Head circumference
- The overall physical health
After taking the measurements, the baby’s size will be compared to other babies of the same age. But, the examination may not completely depend upon the measurements and percentages. Next step in the well-baby checkup is the physical examination. It is commonly considered as a head-to-toe physical examination. It denotes that, the doctor will conduct a thorough examination during the checkup. The parent should mention their concerns and doubts regarding the health of the baby. According to this recommendation, the doctor will check out for all the concerns. The basics in a head-to-toe examination may include:
- Head: The gaps between the skull bones of a child is known as soft spots or fontanels. This area will be thoroughly checked during the head-to-toe examination. The shape of the head will also be checked.
- Ears: The baby’s response to various sounds will be observed by the doctor during the examination, in order to ensure proper functioning of the ears. The doctor will also use an otoscope to check for infection or fluid in the ears of the baby.
- Eyes: The doctor will check whether the tear ducts are blocked. She/he may also check whether there is any issue of unnecessary eye discharge. To look inside of the eyes, the doctor will use an ophthalmoscope. In older babies, the doctor will use flashlight or bright objects to catch the baby’s attention and observe the eye movements.
- Mouth: Signs of oral thrush can be found by observing the inside of the mouth. Oral thresh is a yeast infection, commonly seen among babies. It can be easily treated with proper care and medications. In older babies, the doctor will check for teething signs such as drooling or chewing.
- Skin: Birthmarks and rashes are some of the common conditions that are found during the checkup.
- Heart and Lungs: The doctor finds uncommon heartbeat, rhythms and breathing problems with the help of stethescope. Heart murmurs are very common among babies, which can be easily treated with the help of specialists.
- Abdomen: The doctor detects conditions such as enlarged organs, tenderness, and umbilical hernia etc. simply by pressing the baby’s abdomen.
- Hip and legs: Problems with the hip joints like dislocation are checked by the doctor. For this, the doctor will move the baby’s legs.
- Genitalia: The baby’s genitalia is checked for lumps, tenderness and other signs of infections. Vaginal discharge, descended testes etc., are some of the other issues that are checked during the well-baby checkup.
After the first visit, the checkup may be done during the following ages:
- By 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 year
- 1 ½ year
- 1 ¾ year
- 2 years
- 2 ½ years
- 3 years
- 4 years
- 5 years
- 6 years
- 8 years
- 10 years
After that, well-baby checkup is done each year till the age of 21. If there are any other issues found during the checkups, frequent visits and checkup may be required in addition to this.