What to Expect During This Visit
Your doctor and/or nurse will probably:
1. Check your baby's weight, length, and head circumference and plot the measurements on a growth chart.
2. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about how your baby is:
Feeding. Your baby might be going longer between feedings now, but will still have times when they want to eat more. Most babies this age breastfeed about 8 times in a 24-hour period or drink about 26–28 ounces (780–840 ml) of formula a day.
Peeing and pooping. Babies should have several wet diapers a day and tend to have fewer poopy diapers. Breastfed babies' stools should be soft and may be slightly runny. Formula-fed babies' stools tend to be a little firmer, but should not be hard.
Sleeping. Your baby will probably begin to stay awake for longer periods and be more alert during the day, sleeping more at night. Breastfed babies may have a 4- to 5-hour stretch at night, and formula fed babies may go 5 to 6 hours. Waking up at night to be fed is normal.
Developing. By 2 months, most babies:
- make sounds other than crying
- react to loud sounds
- calm down when spoken to or picked up
- look at your face
- look at a toy for several seconds
- smile in response to being talked to, played with, or smiled at
- hold their head up while lying on their belly
- move both arms and legs
- open their hands briefly
Talk to your doctor if your baby is not meeting one or more milestones, or you notice that your baby had skills but has lost them.
3. Do an exam with your baby undressed while you are present. This will include an eye exam, listening to your baby's heart and feeling pulses, checking hips, and paying attention to your baby's movements.
4. Do screening tests. Your doctor will review the screening tests from the hospital and do repeat tests, if needed.
5. Update immunizations.Immunizations can protect infants from serious childhood illnesses, so it's important that your baby receive them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
6. Because postpartum depression is common, your baby’s doctor may ask you to fill out a depression screening questionnaire.
Here are some things to keep in mind until your baby's next routine checkup at 4 months:
- Do not introduce solids (including infant cereal) or juice. Breast milk or formula is still all your baby needs.
- Pay attention to signs that your baby is hungry or full.
- If you breastfeed:
- If possible, breastfeed exclusively (no formula, other fluids, or solids) for 6 months. If desired, pumped breast milk may be given in a bottle.
- If you plan to go back to work soon, introduce the bottle now to get your baby used to bottle-feeding.
- Ask your doctor about vitamin D drops for your baby.
- Continue to take a daily prenatal vitamin or multivitamin.
- If formula-feeding, give iron-fortified formula.
- If your baby takes a bottle of breast milk or formula:
- Do not prop your baby's bottle.
- Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- Wash your hands before handling the baby and ask others to do the same. Avoid people who may be sick.
- Hold your baby and be attentive to their needs. You can't spoil a baby.
- Sing, talk, and read to your baby. Babies learn best by interacting with people.
- Give your baby supervised "tummy time" when awake. Always watch your baby and be ready to help if they get tired or frustrated in this position.
- Limit the amount of time your baby spends in an infant seat, bouncer, or swing.
- It's normal for infants to have fussy periods. But for some, crying can be excessive, lasting several hours a day. If a baby develops colic, it usually starts in an otherwise well baby at around 3 weeks, peaks around 6 weeks, and improves by 3 months.
- It's common for new moms to feel tired and overwhelmed at times. But if these feelings are intense, or you feel sad, moody, or anxious, call your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your living situation. Do you have the things that you need to take care of your baby? Do you have enough food, a safe place to live, and health insurance? Your doctor can tell you about community resources or refer you to a social worker.
- To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS):
- Always place your baby to sleep on a firm, flat mattress on their back, and not on the stomach or side, in a crib or bassinet without any crib bumpers, blankets, quilts, pillows, or plush toys.
- Breastfeed your baby, if possible.
- Let your baby sleep in your room in a bassinet or crib next to the bed until your baby's first birthday, or for at least 6 months, when the risk of SIDS is highest.
- Avoid overheating by keeping the room temperature comfortable. Dress your baby for the room temperature and don't overbundle. Don't cover your baby's head while they're sleeping. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating or feeling hot to the touch.
- Consider putting your baby to sleep sucking on a pacifier. If your baby rejects the pacifier, don't force it. If the pacifier falls out during sleep, you don't have to replace it. If you're breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is established before introducing the pacifier.
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep on a product that isn’t specifically designed for sleeping babies, such as a sitting device (like a car seat), a feeding pillow (like the Boppy pillow), or an infant lounger (like the Dock-a-Tot, Podster, and Bummzie).
- Don’t use products or devices that claim to lower the risk of SIDS, such as sleep positioners (like wedges or incliners) or monitors that can detect a baby’s heart rate and breathing pattern. No known products can actually do this.
- Make sure that all sleep surfaces and products you use to help your baby sleep have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and meet federal safety standards.
- Don't use an infant walker. They're dangerous and can cause serious injuries. Walkers also do not encourage walking and may actually hinder it.
- Soon, your baby will be reaching, grasping, and moving things to his or her mouth, so keep small objects and harmful substancesout of reach. Keep your baby away from cords, wires, and toys with loops or strings.
- While your baby is awake, don't leave your little one unattended, especially on high surfaces or in the bath.
- Never shakeyour baby — it can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you are ever worried that you will hurt your baby, put your baby in the crib or bassinet for a few minutes. Call a friend, relative, or your health care provider for help.
- Always put your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat. Never leave your baby alone in the car.
- Don't smoke or use e-cigarettes. Don't let anyone else smoke or vape around your baby.
- Avoid sun exposure by keeping your baby covered and in the shade when possible. Sunscreens are not recommended for infants younger than 6 months. However, you may use a small amount of sunscreen on an infant younger than 6 months if shade and clothing don't offer enough protection.
These checkup sheets are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures guidelines.