A 3-7 day well-baby checkup is a visit to a pediatrician during the baby’s first few days outside the hospital. This is usually scheduled after the initial consultation conducted within 48 hours after discharge, depending on the overall condition of the baby.
Babies are at their most vulnerable state during the first few days after birth especially because they are very prone to infections. Meanwhile, parents, especially first-timers, also experience different challenges, particularly since they don’t have medical professionals they can rely on 24/7.
The checkup provides pediatricians (doctors who specialize in natal and childcare) an opportunity to monitor the baby’s health and growth, as well as help the parents cope with the ever-changing needs of babies and dynamics of childcare.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents bring their newborn to their pediatricians within 3 to 5 days after they have left the hospital. In some cases, this may be extended to up to two weeks depending on the overall health and condition of the baby. Regardless, this checkup is very important as it ensures the health of the newborn.
There are also instances when the well-baby checkup becomes more essential, if not mandatory and these include:
Before the baby is discharged from the hospital, the pediatrician will inform the parent of the first checkup, which may be within 3 to 7 days (although the common period is 3 to 5 days). Usually, the parents are given a baby booklet by the hospital, which serves as a guide during checkups and immunization.
During the first baby checkup, the parents may be asked to fill out questionnaires, forms, and other papers pertaining to the baby’s health, development, maternal care and insurance. The baby’s statistics like the head circumference, weight and length will then be obtained either by a nurse or the pediatrician.
The pediatrician will also check on the baby’s:
Some parents may be afraid to ask questions or raise concerns, believing they are unnecessary or downright nonsense. However, when it comes to the baby’s health, no question should be dismissed or considered irrelevant. Health practitioners like pediatricians and nurses should promote a healthy discussion with emphasis on the parents’ active participation during every checkup. If necessary, the parent may be provided with a guide sheet or a questionnaire, which can be used to discover health issues of the baby that are previously unknown or have not been brought up by the parents before.