Well-visit check-ups, Immunizations and General Health
If you didn’t have your first well-baby check-up last week-good news! This is the week you’ve been waiting for. Sure you’ll get to see his or her new measurements (don’t forget to bring a pen and paper), but you’ll also have a chance to consult with a real live doctor rather than a stack of books or an online forum. However, keep in mind that there is a downside: shots.
Although the vast majority of doctors and the general public believe immunizations are a non-negotiable part of health care, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed when looking at the extensive immunization schedule. Perhaps you’re wondering if any of these vaccines can cause long-term damage:
- Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of each vaccine, making sure you understand what exactly your child would be prevented from, and what might happen if he or she wasn’t protected. Here’s our quick guide to all of the immunizations recommended for babies – what they are, why they’re advised, and when to get them.
- Ask your doctor about an alternative immunization schedule if you’re concerned about the amount of shots.
- Research both sides of the story. Don’t buy into media headlines and sensational stories – actually read the literature and understand the studies that are cited.
- Talk to friends and family about your concerns, and see how other parents have handled the situation.
- Ultimately do whatever you think is best for your child in the long run and understand the implications of your choice.
First Doctor’s Appointment
Baby’s first doctor’s appointment very well might be your first “outing” together, as many new mothers find themselves cooped up during the first week, adjusting to the drastic lifestyle shift. Don’t worry; as difficult and depressing as it feels right now, you will once again be able to leave the house.
Here’s what to expect:
- A weigh-in. While your baby most likely lost weight in the first few days, he or she should regain their birth weight this week.
- Pressing on the baby’s abdominal to check internal organs; moving joints like elbows and knees for dislocation; and examining the genitals, hands and feet.
- Moving the baby around to assess his or her muscle tone.
- Measuring his or her heigh, weight and head circumference.
- If you give the green light, the baby might receive the hepatitis-B vaccine if it wasn’t already given in the hospital.
- Time to sit with the doctor to ask about any other issues or concerns you’re having.
Let’s be blunt: Taking care of a newborn is scary business, especially if it’s your first time around. Coughs, sniffles, rashes, fevers – and what? Your next doctor check-in isn’t for another month? Not to mention the gripping fear that your baby can suddenly (and mysteriously) stop breathing in his or her sleep, or that you or a caregiver might suddenly snap and accidently shake your baby. Here are the basics in keeping your little one safe and healthy:
- Know when medical attention is necessary. You might think that a temperature of 100 degrees is just a low-grade, but that could be serious for a two-week old.
- Do your best to prevent the spread of germs, which means implementing certain rules for visitors.
- Read and practice these tips on preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is when an infant under 12 months old (most likely in the first six months) unexplainably dies.
- Never shake your baby, and make sure that anyone who watches the baby knows how serious this is. It might seem like common sense, but relentless crying, sleep deprivation and postpartum depression can be a dangerous combination. Know the risks of Shaken Baby Syndrome and how to prevent it.