It’s true that parenting doesn’t come with a handbook, but at St. Elizabeth Physicians, we’re here to help you transition into the wonderful – and sometimes overwhelming – world of parenting. Our experts have put together a helpful list of appointments that your child shouldn’t miss:
1. Newborn screenings at the hospital
The St. Elizabeth Family Birth Place administers the following for all newborns:
- Blood screening
- Hearing screening
- Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD) screening
These newborn screenings provide parents with their baby’s most up-to-date health information, ensuring that if a treatment plan is needed, one can immediately be put in place.
2. Six to ten days after birth
When you bring your little bundle of joy home, you will need to interpret the reasoning behind your baby’s various cries and movements. Learning these will help guide you on when they’re hungry, need a diaper change, need to be rocked or if it’s time to call the pediatrician. Schedule an office visit with your baby’s pediatrician for a few days after leaving the hospital, especially if your baby was losing weight at the hospital or having any feeding difficulties.
3. Regular checkups and immunizations throughout your baby’s first year
Your child’s pediatrician will provide you with your baby’s first-year checkup schedule, but typically your baby will be seen at one month, two months, four months, nine months and twelve months. These checkup appointments help to track your baby’s growth and development, as well as to keep your baby up-to-date on immunizations.
4. Yearly checkups and immunizations as your child ages
As your child grows, he or she will have a 15-month and 18-month checkup and then start on annual checkups beginning at age two. Your child’s pediatrician will continue to monitor their growth and development, as well as address any concerns you might have. Staying on track with your child’s vaccines is also something your pediatrician will address at each well-visit.
“It’s important that families understand that from our perspective, our number one priority is that kids receive immunizations to protect them from diseases, illnesses and even death,” says Dr. John La Count, a pediatrician at St. Elizabeth Physicians. “Families need to understand that refusing or deferring immunizations hurts not only the child but everyone in the community.”
5. Twice-a-year visits with the dentist
Once your child is two years old, it’s a good idea to start bi-annual dentist appointments. When your child is still a toddler, the dentist will likely count their teeth and make sure the teeth are coming in correctly. As your child grows older, they will begin their twice-a-year cleanings. Your child’s dentist can also refer to your child to an orthodontist for an evaluation.
6. Yearly vision screenings
Your child’s pediatrician will offer vision screenings for toddlers, which usually consists of identifying shapes from a set distance away. When your child starts elementary school, schedule yearly vision screenings at the eye doctor, especially if your child is squinting or complaining of headaches. If either you or your spouse need glasses or contact lenses, your child has a higher likelihood of needing them too.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at St. Elizabeth Physicians, please call (800) 737-7900.