At your well-child visits, you will get information on topics such as:
- Childhood diseases
- What to expect as your child grows
Write down your questions and concerns and bring them with you. This will help you get the most out of the visit.
Your provider will pay special attention to how your child is growing compared to normal developmental milestones. The child's height, weight, and head circumference are recorded on a growth chart. This chart remains part of the child's medical record. Talking about your child's growth is a good place to begin a discussion about your child's general health. Ask your provider about the body mass index (BMI) curve, which is the most important tool for identifying and preventing obesity.
Your provider will also talk about other wellness topics such as family relationship issues, school, and access to community services.
There are several schedules for routine well-child visits. One schedule, recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is given below.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE SCHEDULE
A visit with a provider before the baby is born can be important especially for:
- First-time parents.
- Parents with a high-risk pregnancy.
- Any parent who has questions about issues such as feeding, circumcision, and general child health issues.
After the baby is born, the next visit should be 2 to 3 days after bringing the baby home (for breastfed babies) or when the baby is 2 to 4 days old (for all babies who are released from a hospital before they are 2 days old). Some providers will delay the visit until the baby is 1 to 2 weeks old for parents who have had babies before.
After that, it is recommended that visits occur at the following ages (your provider may have you add or skip visits depending on your child's health or your parenting experience):
- By 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 2 years
- 2 1/2 years
- 3 years
- Each year after that until age 21
Also, you should call or visit a provider any time your baby or child seems ill or whenever you are worried about your baby's health or development.
Elements of the physical exam:
Growth and development schedules:
Preparing a child for an office visit is similar to test and procedure preparation.
Preparation steps differ, depending on the child's age: