Because you can't always get immunized when you're sick, well-child visits are important for keeping your baby's vaccines up to date. Vaccines protect against certain diseases, many of which can have serious complications for young children. Some vaccines only require a single shot, and others will need a series of doses. The good news is that many vaccines work for an entire lifetime. Check with your healthcare provider to find out what immunization schedule your child needs and what vaccines she will get before starting daycare or school.
The good old notches-on-the-doorway technique is a classic, but tracking your baby's growth and development with a healthcare provider is a slightly more sophisticated way to see how your child is growing. At your baby's well-child visits, your healthcare provider will be able to give her physical exams and check her height and weight. You'll be able to accurately see how much your baby has grown since her last visit, and talk with a professional about milestones and development.
Your child might appear to be the picture of health, but she could have invisible vision issues. It's recommended that you have your baby's eyes checked once at six months old, once at three years old, once before she starts first grade, and then every two years after that. If your baby starts school with unknown vision problems, it could pose a learning challenge.
As with vision tests, well-child visits are a great opportunity to check your baby's hearing. your baby should have had her hearing screened as part of her routine newborn tests if you gave birth in a hospital. For children who didn't have newborn screenings, it's recommended that a screening be done within the first three weeks after birth. This is because hearing problems are often easier to fix if they're detected before children are three months old. If there aren't any issues with your baby's hearing, she will probably have her ears checked every year or so at her well-child visits.
Another great thing you can do at well-child visits is talk about how to keep your baby feeling well. Your healthcare provider can give you advice about nutrition, sleep, behavior, and any other questions you might have. It's a great opportunity to voice your questions and concerns to a professional who knows your child and her medical history.
Well-child visits are also a great way to get your baby acquainted with seeing a healthcare provider. If you see the same person every time, you'll both be able to get comfortable with them and build a lasting relationship.