As a new parent, there is a lot to learn and a baby’s health is always the top priority. Many people are lucky enough to have an experienced support system to help guide them and answer questions about their baby’s care, but that is not always the case. One of the most important things a parent needs to do is keep up with regular checkups. Here are the recommended guidelines for when to take your child to the doctor.
When to visit the Pediatrician
After being discharged from the hospital, a newborn needs to be seen by their pediatrician within 2-3 days to ensure that they aren’t jaundiced. This first checkup will include a physical, screening tests, and many questions for the parents about how often the infant is eating, pooping, and sleeping. After a baby’s first checkup there will be 6 additional doctor visits during the first year, every few months after that, and then annually after the age of three. These are commonly referred to as well checks or well-child care visits. The American Academy of Pediatricians keeps a list of these checkups available.
When to visit the Dentist
Many parents are unclear about when a child should first get their teeth checked by a dentist rather than their pediatrician. According to Carolina Crossroads Dental Care, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) all recommend establishing a ‘dental home’ for your child by the time they are 1 year old. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.” A child’s first visit with the dentist is mostly about helping the child become comfortable, but also includes preventative care and oral hygiene instruction. Children should come in once every six months for a checkup to prevent cavities and other pediatric dental issues.
When to Visit the Optometrist
When it comes to first checkus with the optometrist, Think About Your Eyes reports that “infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6.” As long as there are no problems, exams can be scheduled biannually. If a parent has any concern about their child’s vision or eyes before the age of three, they should schedule an exam to identify and treat any potential problems. After all, a child’s vision will affect their learning, so it important to have visited the optometrist before the child begins school.
Life as a new parent is overwhelming. Sleepless nights, midnight feedings, and endless diaper changes become the new norm. Despite the hectic schedule that infants keep it is important to remember to keep track of when babies need checkups and when to visit the dentist. Regular checkups at the pediatrician and dentist will ensure that your child’s health is properly being monitored. Checkups are an important contributor to a baby’s continued good health and an ideal place for parents to get advice from their doctors.