Schedule for Well Baby Care

Schedule for Visits to the Doctor

Mother with baby at well baby care appointment with pediatrician
Photo © Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Just as you had regular checks ups in pregnancy from your doctor or midwife, your baby will also have a similar set of visits. This is known as well baby care. It is typically provided by a pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant (PA).

What is Included in Well Baby Care

Your pediatrician will probably want to see your baby for what is known as a well baby check or well baby care. These visits are spaced periodically throughout your baby's first year of life.

They may include things like:

  • weight check
  • head circumference
  • length
  • breastfeeding questions/issues
  • general developmental assessment depending on baby's age
  • discussions of vaccinations or immunizations
  • other parenting questions

Well Baby Care Schedule

There may be a variety of schedules that are used for well baby care. Though a typical well baby visit schedule may look like this:

  • Two-three days from discharge
  • Two weeks
  • One month
  • Two months
  • Three months
  • Four months
  • Six months
  • Nine months
  • One year

Despite the fact that it looks like these visits don't begin until well after birth, that's not quite the case. Your pediatrician or an associate of theirs will meet you at the hospital or birth center shortly after giving birth. And even before their meeting, your baby will have been given a complete physical exam by the doctor or midwife or even a nursery nurse, to see if extra care is needed. You may also need to call your pediatrician in between appointments with concerns or questions.

Making the Most of Your Well Baby Care

When you come to these appointments, arrive on time and come prepared to answer questions about your baby's feeding habits, sleep patterns, diaper activity, and behavior in general. This is also an important chance for you to ask questions about all of these issues and more.

Your pediatrician is used to a variety of questions, and a variety of lifestyle choices, do not be concerned about judgemental about the questions you are asking.

These visits are a great way to build a relationship with the people caring for your child. This can also come in handy when your child isn't well, your pediatrician or other practitioner already knows your child's "normal" behavior from visits done when they felt better.

While these visits have a pattern or schedule, you have to realize that there is flexibility as well. You can also schedule visits sooner if needed and you should never hesitate to call your pediatrician for questions. These visits may be rearranged depending on what your baby's specific needs are at that time.

Paying for Well Baby Care

You might be concerned that the well baby care visits schedule will cost you a lot in co-pays. The good news is that with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being passed, well baby care is covered 100%. There are not even co=pays due on your visits to the pediatrician for these visits.

The goal is to get intervention for problems earlier, thus preventing greater illness and more expensive and intense treatments later. 

You should pick a pediatrician or someone to provide your baby's well baby care later in pregnancy. You may want to start looking around the middle of your pregnancy. There are a lot of things to think about in picking the right practitioner. This person can help you make decisions for your baby before they are even born.

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