During pregnancy, your midwife or OBGYN regularly monitors your baby’s health, growth, and overall development. As an anticipating mother-to-be, you wait for these appointments and make sure to show up for every one of them. Remember when you heard your child’s heartbeat for the first time in the doctor’s office? 

Frequent visits to the doctor shouldn’t stop abruptly after giving birth. As pediatricians, we at the Children’s Medical Center of South Florida know the importance of sticking to a thought-out, well-child visit schedule

Sure, we are here when an accident happens or when your child becomes ill. Still, the periods between injuries and illnesses are also significant. How can you tell that your child is developing and growing at a healthy rate? Can you tell whether they are reaching their milestones?

Well-child visits are imperative to discover underlying and diagnosed health conditions that might need immediate medical attention. On that note, taking your bundle of joy to regular well-child check-ups and sticking to the recommended pediatrician schedule can help a great deal in identifying any medical problems and making sure that everything’s all right. 

About Well-Child Visit Schedule

Asian Doctor Measure Baby Head by Tape to Check-up His Grow Curve and Infant Lying on Bed

Many first-time parents are surprised when they find out just how tight the recommended well-child check schedule is, especially in the first two and a half years of their child’s life. These well-child visits are appointments based on the pediatrician schedule created by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), and they continue well into adolescence. 

These preventive medical appointments aim to assess your child’s development, ensure they are achieving important milestones, and monitor their healthy growth. Additionally, these appointments serve as an opportunity to conduct medical screenings, which can help detect any underlying conditions that might remain unnoticed or only become evident during a medical emergency in the future.

Well-Child Check Schedule

 The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends the following pediatrician schedule for screenings and visits: 

  • The first visit should be scheduled three to five days following birth.
  • When the child reaches one month of age.
  • Two months old.
  • Four months old.
  • At six months of age.
  • Nine months old
  • 12 months old.
  • At 15 months of age.
  • 18 months old
  • Two years old
  • Once every year, starting from age three until adulthood.

The Importance of Well-Child Check-Ups

These medical appointments, often referred to as physicals, play a crucial role in tracking your child’s growth and delivering proactive healthcare. They are instrumental in identifying any existing or potential medical conditions your child may have. Moreover, in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccination schedule, these appointments include the administration of vaccinations. This ensures that your child remains safeguarded against severe yet preventable illnesses.

On the other hand, sticking to the well-child visit schedule gives parents the opportunity to ask any questions or concerns they may have regarding their child’s development, growth, and general health. On that note, parents mustn’t forget that every child is different, so even experienced caregivers may encounter things they will want to check with their child’s pediatrician. 

Also, the regular pediatrician schedule enables your child to form a close relationship with their pediatrician that will last for decades. 

Also, during these well-child visits, experts confirm whether the child is growing at a healthy rate and determine whether they have any undiagnosed medical condition that may require an intervention or further, more specialized screening. 

The rarity of medical conditions doesn’t lead us to enter the examination room with the assumption that your child is free from them. Instead, we are committed to providing every patient with the appropriate care and attention they merit. Our approach prioritizes the thorough assessment and exclusion of medical conditions rather than making assumptions based on their infrequency in diagnoses.

Well-Child Visits: What Does a Physical Look Like 

Young Female Patient Smiles at Doctor at Medical Examination

What does a well-child check-up look like? Generally, these visits are comprehensive health screenings that assess the overall development of your child. This is especially true during the first few visits until two and a half years of age. During this time, experts monitor a wide range of health factors, such as: 

  • The weight of the child during the appointment, the rate at which they gain weight, compared to the check-up before. Then, the numbers are compared to the WHO’s (World Health Organization) growth chart.
  • Experts also measure the child’s height and perform the same comparisons. 
  • Determine the child’s Body Mass Index and compare it to previous and general numbers.
  • The healthcare provider will assess your child’s heart rate and listen to their heart sounds to check for the presence of a heart murmur or any signs of congenital heart disease (CHD).
  • Pediatricians will also check the child’s breathing rhythm and lungs.
  • Experts will also hand out developmental questionnaires to parents that they should fill out during some appointments to help identify any developmental delays. 

During well visits, we also keep a close eye on common childhood health conditions. For instance, during these appointments, we will review your child’s medical history to determine if they’ve experienced any ear infections in the past year. Additionally, we may assess their academic performance and follow up on any concerns related to conditions like asthma. Essentially, these visits provide a comprehensive view of your child’s overall well-being, allowing us to address any potential issues or concerns.

It’s important to note that regular doctor appointments also coincide with your child’s immunization schedule. Attending these scheduled appointments is crucial because they align with the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule, providing essential protection against severe yet preventable diseases for your child. Your diligence in keeping these appointments is paramount to your child’s health and well-being.

Keeping a Close Eye on Your Child From The Very Beginning

We fully recognize that, especially for parents of young children, finding the time for regular well visits can be challenging. This is particularly true when both parents have demanding work schedules outside the home, making it a juggling act to fit doctor appointments into your busy lives. Nevertheless, these preventive medical check-ups are paramount for your child’s overall health and well-being.

By closely monitoring your child’s growth and development, especially during the crucial first two and a half years of life, we can conduct screenings for potentially serious medical conditions that may necessitate the expertise of a pediatric specialist or medical interventions. Additionally, these routine doctor visits offer the opportunity for discussions about your child’s development and behavior at home, aiding us in identifying if a referral for services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy may be beneficial.

As you can appreciate, a multitude of essential assessments and discussions occur during these doctor check-ups. Missing them is simply not an option, as they play a pivotal role in your child’s overall healthcare, ensuring that your family is growing as anticipated and as healthy as possible.