Vrinda Kumar, M.D.
Pediatrician, Rush-Copley Medical Group
Many parents are unsure what a well-child visit is. Childhood is a time of growth and change, and taking your child to the doctor should not only be when they are ill. Pediatric well-child visits are most frequent when a child’s development is most rapid in the first year of life.
Each visit includes a complete physical examination that will assess the child’s growth and development and help identify problems early. During a well-child visit, height, weight and head circumference is recorded on a graph. In addition, important screenings like hearing and vision may also be a part of some visits.
Well-child visits are also good times to communicate with your physician. Expect your physician to give you information about normal development, nutrition, sleep, safety, infectious diseases that are prevalent, like the flu, and other important health and safety topics for parents. Make the most of these visits by writing down your most important questions and concerns to bring with you. Ask your physician about the Body-Mass Index curve (BMI) to help you learn about and help prevent childhood obesity.
After the baby is born, the next visit should be 2-3 days after bringing the baby home (for breast-fed babies) or when the baby is 2-4 days old. Thereafter, visits should occur at the following points:
- 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 months
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 years
- Each year after until age 21
Visits and phone calls to your physician should be made any time a baby or child seems ill or when the parent is concerned about a baby's health or development.