Most new parents are in awe of their precious newborn — so in awe that they might not plan baby’s first visit with a pediatrician. This first visit usually happens within the first week after birth, so it’s important to choose a pediatrician before the baby is born.
Most of the time the first visit is a chance to reassure new parents that the baby is doing fine. Many parents are worried that the weight loss all infants experience after leaving the hospital is significant. The first pediatrician visit can help alleviate that fear.
“Most babies lose weight until three to five days of age, so it is important to see a new baby early to be sure that feedings are going well and there are no physical signs of dehydration,” said Andrew Donovan, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Middletown. “This first appointment is primarily to assess feeding adequacy and to look for any physical problems that were noted in the hospital and need follow up.”
This appointment helps identify any issues that need medical attention, such as jaundice — a common issue among infants.
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“Jaundice is a good example of something that often will become more pronounced after hospital discharge,” Dr. Donovan said. “Records from the hospital stay are reviewed prior to this appointment and any problems during pregnancy or delivery will be discussed as well.”
Whenever possible, both parents and a regular caregiver should come. This will ensure everyone is on the same page with the baby’s progress and care.
Many times this is baby’s first trip out of the house, which can be an adventure for new parents. Parents can expect the first visit to last about 30 minutes. They should come stocked with extra diapers, formula or nursing supplies.
Baby’s first pediatrician visit should be exciting, not scary. This appointment is a great time to get an expert opinion about the care of a new baby. You should feel free to ask lots of questions. It’s a time to celebrate and receive encouragement.