Two Week Check-Up
If your pediatrician didn't see your baby in the hospital and has not seen him or her before, he will take a full history of your pregnancy and delivery, as well as your family's medical history and that of the baby's father. Be sure any previous medical records are transferred to this doctor and bring your baby's immunization record with you.
Your pediatrician will begin this appointment by asking you how you are adjusting to life with your new baby, how much your baby cries and if she's easy to soothe. If you are breastfeeding, the doctor may ask you how that is going and how often you nurse your baby each day and at night. The doctor may also ask how many diapers your baby goes through in a typical day.
The doctor will then ask you some questions about what your baby can do and developmental milestones he or she has reached. At two weeks, your baby may lift her head for a short period of time and move it side to side. She will probably prefer to look at human faces and be able to focus on objects 8 to 12 inches away, and respond to loud noises and blink at bright lights. If your baby does not do all the things the doctor asks you about, don't worry; every child develops at a different rate and these milestones simply give the doctor a way of monitoring your child's progress from one appointment to the next.
Don't be afraid to ask the pediatrician lots of questions; in fact according to Sharon L. Busey, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, "Parents should come to visits armed with any questions or concerns they have about their child. The well-baby visit is a good opportunity to address questions that the parent [may have.]" Never leave the office feeling uncertain or uncomfortable about the answers your doctor has given you; he or she is there for you.
The doctor will then physically examine your baby, which includes measuring your baby's length, height, weight, and head circumference. Head circumference is an indirect measure of your baby's brain growth, so the pediatrician will make sure growth is steady and continuous between check-ups. He or she will probably plot all of your baby's measurements on a growth chart; however, try not to compare your baby with others. It is more important that your baby show consistent growth from month to month, rather than how much he weighs or how long he is at a particular check-up. Throughout the first year, your doctor will also watch the soft spots on your baby's head. The one in the back should close by two or three months, while the one at the front of your baby's head may take up to two years to fully close.
The standard physical examination includes the following:
Ears - Your pediatrician will look for evidence of fluid or infection, as well as make sure your baby's hearing is normal.
Eyes - The doctor will shine a bright light in front of your baby's face to catch his or her attention and check for any signs of infection or impaired vision.
Skin - Your doctor will examine your baby's skin for various conditions, including birthmarks, rashes and jaundice. He or she will also make sure the umbilical cord stump is healing properly.
Mouth - Your pediatrician will check your baby's mouth for signs of infection, such as oral thrush, and for the sucking reflex. Later, he or she will check your baby's teething progress.
Heart and lungs - The doctor will listen to your baby's heart and breathing with a stethoscope.
Abdomen - Your pediatrician will press gently on your baby's abdomen to check for any enlarged or abnormal organs.
Genitalia - Your doctor will examine your baby's genitalia to look for any unusual lumps, tenderness or signs of infection.
Hips and Legs - The doctor will move your baby's legs to check for dislocations or other problems. When your baby begins to walk, the doctor will make sure her legs and feet are aligned properly.
The doctor should have received the results of your baby's newborn screening test, which was done within the first day or two after birth. Confirm with your doctor that he or she has them and that they were normal. If your baby needs to have the screen repeated, this is usually done at the two week visit. If your baby didn't receive the Hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital after birth, he or she will receive it at the two week visit. All other vaccines begin at the two month appointment.
Your doctor may end the appointment by giving you some idea what to expect at the next appointment, what your baby may begin to do between now and then, and ask you if you have any questions or concerns.