What to Expect During This Visit
The doctor and/or nurse will probably:
1. Check your baby's weight, length, and head circumference and plot the measurements on the growth charts.
2. Ask questions, address any concerns, and offer advice about how your baby is:
Feeding. Newborns should be fed whenever they seem hungry. Breastfed infants eat about every 1–3 hours, and formula-fed infants eat about every 2–4 hours. Your doctor or nurse can watch as you breastfeed and offer help with any problems. Burp your baby midway through a feeding and again at the end.
Peeing and pooping. Newborns should have about six wet diapers a day. The number of poopy diapers varies, but most newborns have 3 or 4 soft bowel movements a day. Tell your doctor if you have any concerns about your newborn's bowel movements.
Sleeping. A newborn may sleep up to 18 or 19 hours a day, waking up often (day and night) to breastfeed or take a bottle. Breastfed babies usually wake to eat every 1–3 hours, while formula-fed babies may sleep longer, waking every 2–4 hours to eat (formula takes longer to digest so babies feel fuller longer). Newborns should not sleep more than 4 hours between feedings until they have good weight gain, usually within the first few weeks. After that, it's OK if a baby sleeps for longer stretches.
Developing. In the first month, babies should:
- pay attention to faces or bright objects 8–12 inches (20–30 cm) away
- respond to sound — they may quiet down, blink, turn head, startle, or cry
- hold arms and legs in a flexed position
- move arms and legs equally
- lift head briefly when on stomach (babies should only be placed on the stomach while awake and under supervision)
- have strong newborn reflexes, such as:
- rooting and sucking: turns toward, then sucks breast/bottle nipple
- grasp: tightly grabs hold of a finger placed within the palm
- fencer's pose: straightens arm when head is turned to that side and bends opposite arm
- Moro reflex (startle response): throws out arms and legs, then curls them in when startled
3. Do a physical exam with your baby undressed with you present. This exam will include an eye exam, listening to your baby's heart and feeling pulses, inspecting the umbilical cord, and checking the hips.
4. Do screening tests. Your doctor will review the screening tests from the hospital and repeat tests, if needed. If a hearing test wasn't done then, your baby will have one now.
5. Update immunizations. Immunizations can protect infants from serious childhood illnesses, so it's important that your baby get them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
Here are some things to keep in mind until your next routine visit at 1 month:
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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