Your newborn's first appointment with a pediatrician is usually scheduled 3-5 days after birth. Make sure you're prepared for the visit. Bring your insurance card, any paperwork from the hospital like baby's discharge wait, and any records of complications, etc. with your pregnancy. Dress your newborn in clothes that can be easily removed, and make sure to pack up your parenting kit: pacifiers, a change of clothes, diapers, formula, or a breast pump if you're breastfeeding.
The First Visit Will Be a Long One
The pediatrician will conduct a head-to-toe examination of your newborn, including a thorough check of the head and neck area. Babies sometimes break their collarbones when squeezing through the birth canal. The collarbone will usually heal on its own, but the pediatrician will make sure to check. Also, if your child didn't receive the hepatitis B vaccine at the hospital, the pediatrician will administer it at the clinic.
Your Baby Will Probably Lose Weight
In the womb, the baby has a little extra fluid. During its first week of life and going to the bathroom the way all the rest of us do, newborns discharge that extra fluid. Thus, it's not uncommon for breastfed babies to drop 7-10% of their body weight. Formula-fed babies can lose up to 5% of their weight since formula packs more calories than breast milk.
Eating and Sleeping Habits
Try to keep a record of your child's eating and sleeping habits. How often does he or she feed? How long do they sleep on average? At the pediatric clinic, they will want to know all of those things. Abnormalities indicate to the pediatrician that something may wrong.
Baby-Proofing Your Home
Accidents cause quite a few preventable injuries to children. While your newborn is helpless now, everyone knows how quickly that changes. Your pediatrician will make sure you're well versed in child-proofing. Topics such as locking up household chemicals, securing heavy objects so they can't fall, and keeping open flames and flammable objects away from children will be discussed.
It's Normal to Be Anxious
Your first week as a parent will probably be one of the most challenging of your life. It would be weird if you weren't anxious to see if your newborn was ok. To help ease your mind, make sure you have any questions for the pediatrician written down. Do this for the first visit and every visit thereafter.
If you're expecting, expect to be spending a lot of time in pediatric clinics. That comes with the territory. There are usually six check-ups during a child's first year and certainly more if needed.