The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you take your baby in for at least nine checkups during the first three years. During these visits, your child will receive a complete physical examination, height and weight measurements, and recommended vaccinations. Your pediatrician will also ask you about your child’s developmental milestones and can offer advice on everything from introducing solid foods to toilet training.
What to Expect
During your child's first few years, you'll visit the pediatrician regularly. These are routine appointments known as “Well Child Care Visits.” Follow your doctor's advice for scheduling these checkups. The schedule varies from doctor to doctor, but generally follows this pattern:
During a checkup, your pediatrician will examine your baby from head to toe.
Head: Soft spots should be open and flat for the first few months. The spot at the back of the head usually closes by two to three months, while the front soft spot closes around 18 months. Your child's head size will also be measured.
Ears: The doctor will look in both ears for any signs of infection.
Eyes: The doctor will use a bright object or flashlight to track your baby's eye movements and look in the eyes.
Mouth: The doctor will check for signs of infection and teething progress.
Heart and Lungs: The doctor will place a stethoscope on the front and back of your child's chest to check breathing and heart sounds.
Stomach: The doctor will place a hand on your child's abdomen and gently press down to make sure all the organs feel healthy and normal.
Hips and Legs: The doctor will move your baby's legs up and down and in a gentle circular motion to make sure the legs and hips are normal.
Be sure to talk to your pediatrician about any concerns or questions you may have about your child. If you have concerns about your child, contact your pediatrician – do not wait until a routine well-child visit.
For more information about well-child visits, click here.