One of the primary job responsibilities of any good parent is making sure that your child gets the right medical examinations on the proper schedule. With so many issues to address, it can often be overwhelming to remember how often your child should be seen by a trained medical professional for all of their health checkups and preventative care visits. Here are three things to keep in mind as you schedule your child’s medical appointments.
You might not have thought that young children need to go to the dentist, but the truth is that even very young children need to go to the dentist. According to Stanford Children’s Health, you should take your child to the dentist after the first tooth appears but before they hit their first birthday. After this point, you should bring your child in for a dental exam once every six months. Your dentist will provide thorough cleanings and X-rays at these appointments. Your dental provider may recommend more frequent appointments if there are underlying oral health issues to monitor. Doing these things while your child is young will help to ensure that they don’t have significant dental problems in the future.
Although most schools provide eye exams for children, it is always a good idea to have this basic screening backed by an official examination at a trusted provider. According to Murphy Eye Associates, infants should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age. After this initial screening, you should have their eyes examined at age three and then again at age five before they enter school. From this point forward, you can plan to have the exam at two-year intervals if they have no eyesight issues. Children who wear glasses or contacts or experience blurred vision should follow an annual exam schedule to monitor changes to the eyesight that may necessitate a different prescription strength.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a recommended schedule that new parents should follow for wellness visits. Before the child is even born, it’s a good idea to meet with the pediatrician to set up family history information. Newborns should have their first evaluation right after birth. They should then have their first visit with the pediatrician within 3–5 days of birth and within 48–72 hours of hospital discharge. However, if they were discharged in less than 48 hours from delivery, they should be seen within 48 hours. If your child is breastfeeding, your pediatrician may want to see them again after 2 weeks, since it can take them that long to get back to birth weight after losing some initial weight after birth. Then, the AAP recommends that you bring your child at the 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, and 30-month marks. Once your child has passed age 3, they should see a doctor once per year until they reach age 21.
Once you get the hang of these regularly scheduled appointments, it will be easy for you to keep track of everything. Making a commitment to following this schedule will pay big dividends for your child’s health as they grow.
Breastfeeding is another important part of a child’s health. We know that breastmilk is the perfect nutrition for babies and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until at least 6 months, and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods until at least 1 year or longer. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years.
We know that many parents struggle with breastfeeding, and a postpartum visit with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant can help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. We even offer nursing well check ups to help keep things on track as your baby grows. If you need help with breastfeeding your child, contact us for a consultation!