One of the places that parents will visit regularly after the birth of their baby is the pediatrician’s office. The coordinator of one of the most prestigious pediatric clinics in Johannesburg, says she advises parents to participate in the first visit to the pediatrician, right after birth .
“Most babies lose weight in the hospital – this is normal. We like to see babies again 10 to 14 days later, so that we can weigh and see that they are getting back to birth weight, ”she notes.
A baby’s first few weeks are hectic and parents often have doubts. So it is important to write them down , as it is very easy to forget them when you are tired with the new routine.
It is important that this first visit to the pediatrician is long and intense , in a pleasant and relaxed environment and that the parents stay close to the baby to reassure him.
This first visit to the pediatrician is also a good time to check how the mother is managing the diet . For example, babies who are breastfed feed more frequently, which can create doubts in the mother, who thinks that her milk is not being enough .
Breastfed babies also poop with a softer appearance, as opposed to the feces formed from a formula-fed baby. This can cause a certain panic , as the mother tends to think that her baby has diarrhea, which is not the case.
What is done in the Pediatric Consultation?
In this first view to the pediatrician, the doctor seeks to know:
Clinical history – The pediatrician collects data on pregnancy, childbirth and perinatal tests performed at the hospital. You will also ask parents about their family history and also about their health conditions. It is very useful for the mother to keep discharge and obstetrics reports and analyzes performed during pregnancy.
Physical exploration – After opening the medical history, the pediatrician will perform a complete examination of the baby. It starts with auscultation and palpation of the abdomen and ends with the examination of the hips (1% of babies suffer from dislocation of the hips) and the mouth, since these are the two tests that cause the greatest discomfort for the child.
The pediatrician will also examine the texture and color of the skin and the size of the genitals, palpate the head to check the condition of the fontanels and explore the pupils and the back of the eye.
The examination continues with the neurological tests (muscle tones) and the verification of their reflexes , although the baby’s reactions to the most irritating tests already allow him to assess his response to stimuli.
Finally, the doctor will measure the weight, height and head circumference , noting the values on a growth chart, which allows you to check if the baby is growing at a healthy rate.
It is not so much about what the numbers are, the important thing about the growth chart is that the baby must follow the curves, not rising or falling abruptly.
Sometimes there are problems with feeding, so if the baby has been weighed and has not returned to its birth weight, it is recommended that parents return after a week. In this way, it is possible to weigh the baby on the same scale, as different scales can be calibrated slightly differently.
When it comes to vaccines , many parents are unsure of the reactions. The doctor can explain everything to the parents on that first visit to the pediatrician. What to do after each vaccine and any reaction the baby may have.
In this conversation it is possible to advise them to give paracetamol if the baby has a mild fever, explain that the dose is determined by the baby’s weight . Recommend parents to always have a thermometer on hand to check whether the baby has a fever or not, before administering the medication.
Sometimes the baby is warm – a slight fever of 38 ° C is very different from a fever of 40 ° C. It is important to know this number and it is on this first visit that the pediatrician can explain what can be done in this case.
What More to Expect from the First Visit to the Pediatrician?
In addition to the tests and questions that the pediatrician will answer, a conversation with some tips for maternal and baby well-being can happen. In this conversation, the pediatrician will explain everything the mother needs to know to take good care of herself and her baby.
He will advise her on diet and sleeping habits , show her how to dress and bathe him, whether she can take him for a walk outdoors, what temperature the room should be, how to protect him of the sun and several other things.
In addition, he will give guidelines to prevent sudden death and advice on how to act in the event of an accident . Finally, the next visit will be scheduled for the next month.
Of course, all this varies according to each pediatrician, so it is important to choose the specialist as he will probably accompany the baby until adolescence.
It is important that parents take the opportunity to ask the doctor any and all questions about baby care. This way, they will be much calmer and safer when they are alone at home with the baby.
See also: Baby Growth Chart
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.