Welcome to my first blog post! I’m so excited that the Rush-Copley
pediatricians are able to offer you another resource to help you find reliable information on common child healthcare topics. We can’t wait to hear from you to see what topics you want discussed and what questions we can answer for you.
Before I get started with my topic, let me tell you a little about me. I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs. I’ve been a Chicagoland girl all my life. Although I grew up in the ‘burbs and spent years living in the city, I’m a bit of a country girl at heart. I love to ride horses and have 3 of my own in my backyard today. I actually live on a working farm with my husband (who is a farmer). I love the open space, fresh veggies (sweet corn and squash are my favorites), and a relaxed way of life. When I’m not busy being a pediatrician, I love to sit on my front porch and relax with my pets (dogs and cats), go for a ride around the farm, or go running along our mile long driveway. Even so, my horseback riding and running will be taking a back seat this summer as I am expecting my first child due in early September. Don’t worry though – I’ve had 11 nieces and nephews to help train me…along with all I’ve learned from being a pediatrician.
Enough about me – let’s talk about babies; specifically, your baby’s first appointments with the pediatrician. I’m fresh off giving a “Bringing Home Baby” talk to new parents at Rush-Copley and I’d like to share that information with you now, blog style! I love newborns so this topic is especially fun for me.
First of all, congratulations to you all! Whether it is your first or your fourth child, it is a big deal! Once you have given birth, your pediatrician will come to see your baby at the hospital in the first 24 hours of life. We make sure baby is feeding well and has a normal physical exam. There will be a lot of routine testing done in the hospital, but once that is all done, you’ll be sent home and it will be time to make baby’s first doctor’s appointment.
Your baby’s first appointment with the pediatrician should be two to three days after hospital discharge. At this appointment we make sure baby has transitioned well to the home. We’ll get the baby’s weight, height and head circumference and make sure they are all at acceptable limits. We expect all babies to lose weight the first weeks of life, but, want to make sure they aren’t losing too much. We’ll also ask you about feeding (how often, how much), voiding (we talk a lot about dirty diapers) and sleep. Once we determine how things are going, we’ll talk about normal newborn topics: common rashes, normal noises (they hiccup…a lot!), fevers, offering tummy time, starting vitamins and more. We’ll also give you some advice on what to expect from your baby and what to expect in the next couple weeks of life. Last, but certainly not least, we want to make sure YOU are doing well. Bringing home a newborn is no small feat and it is important to make sure mom and dad are handling things and have extra support if needed.
The next appointment is usually when your baby is two weeks old. At this visit we want to make sure baby is back at his/her birth weight. We’ll also reevaluate feeding, voiding, sleeping, etc. We’ll answer your questions and see how the first two weeks have gone – time to pat yourself on the back at this visit…you made it through two of the hardest weeks with your new bundle of joy! After the two week visit we’ll have you come in for another visit at one-month old. This visit just makes sure baby is continuing to grow and develop as expected. It gives us another chance to answer your questions as well.
After the one month visit, we wait until your baby is two months old for their next visit. We’ll assess growth and development again, but, this is a “big” visit for another reason: this visit is where the first set of vaccines is given. Vaccines are an important part of preventative health maintenance and should be given ideally on the schedule provided to us by the CDC. If you have questions about vaccines, please ask your pediatrician – possibly even before the two month visit – so you can work together to make sure the best decisions are made regarding your baby’s health and their vaccines.
Each appointment differs a little depending on your pediatrician but the above descriptions will give you at least an idea what to expect in the first couple months of life. We still see your baby often after that (4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc) but these first visits really establish your relationship with your baby’s doc. Please know you can always call our offices at any time if you have questions in between appointments. You’ll either speak to a nurse, leave a message for your pediatrician, or talk to your pediatrician personally to make sure your questions get answered. Newborns throw a lot of curve balls and we are ready to “catch them” whenever you aren’t sure what to do.
Here are some resources I particularly like for newborn care and questions:
Baby 411, 6th edition (Authors: Dr. Ari Brown and Denise Fields). Windsor Peak Press, 2014.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 3rd edition (Author: Dr. Marc Weissbluth). Random House Publishing, 1999.
The Happiest Baby on the Block (Author: Dr. Harvey Karp). Bantam Books, 2003.
The Happiest Baby: Guide to Great Sleep (Author: Dr. Harvey Karp). William Morrow Paperbacks, 2013.
What to Expect The First Year, 2nd edition (Authors: Sandee Hathaway, Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff). Workman Publishing, 2003.
AAP website for parents: www.healthychildren.org
Pediatric practice blog: www.kidsdocblog.rushcopley.com
Thanks for reading! Happy Spring everyone!