Doctor holding a newborn.

Preparing for Your Baby's First Doctor Visit

Your baby’s very first medical exam occurs almost immediately after birth. Newborns undergo their initial checkup in the hospital with either a pre-arranged pediatrician or an in-house family doctor on the property. This physical examination looks for any initial signs of problems, tests reflexes, and gives new parents an opportunity to ask questions. You won’t need to do anything to prepare for this visit as you’ll still be in the hospital recovering, but it’s a great way to get some peace of mind during those initial hours with your baby. However, due to the fast growth rate during a newborn’s first few days of life, an official doctor’s appointment needs to happen shortly after. To help you get the most out of this experience, here are a few tips on preparing for your baby’s first doctor visit.

Scheduling Your Baby’s First Doctor’s Appointment

Your newborn’s first doctor’s appointment needs to happen about three to five days after birth. This is going to occur at the pediatrician’s office you’ve chosen for your child and requires a little more preparation than the initial exam. Depending on the circumstances of your birth and your baby’s initial health reports, your pediatrician may ask that you schedule your baby’s first doctor visit sooner than three days or even more than once during that first week. This is especially true with premature babies, babies with jaundice, or those who have struggled with feeding.

Since the first few days of your baby’s life are extremely important for their health, don’t put off scheduling this appointment. Due dates aren’t a guaranteed prediction of when you’ll actually deliver, so you won’t need to make an appointment until your baby arrives. The best way to get prepared for this in advance is to take the time to choose your pediatrician early on. Discuss your expected due date with the pediatrician and have your partner or doctor call them once you’ve delivered to schedule your baby’s first doctor’s appointment.

Order Your Insurance Covered Breast Pump

What to Expect During Your Newborn’s First Doctor Visit?

It’s completely normal for new parents to feel anxious before their baby’s first checkup. Your newborn is fragile and you’re still adjusting to how they move, sleep, and communicate. The more you know about what’s going to happen at your first appointment, the better you’ll feel. To help, here are some commonly performed tests that your pediatrician will complete.

Neck Check

Your pediatrician will begin the exam by checking your baby’s neck and collarbone for any indication of fractures or breaks. It’s possible for newborns to fracture their clavicle during vaginal birth, so it’s important to check this early to ensure proper healing. Collarbone breaks and fractures tend to self-correct, but your pediatrician will give you tips on how to reduce pain and promote healing.

Head Check

After checking the neck and collarbone, your baby’s doctor will examine their head for any signs of soft fontanels. This head check occurs at every doctor’s visit for the first two years of your baby’s life to ensure that the skull is forming at the right speed and connecting properly. Soft spots are completely normal and help to facilitate healthy brain development. When they close too quickly, it can cause problems and may require corrective surgery.

Hip Check

Another way that your doctor checks for healthy bone development is through a hip check. During this exam, your pediatrician will gently roll your baby’s hips to check for any signs of developmental hip dysplasia. While the exam may look like it’s painful, it’s completely normal, safe, and painless. If signs of developmental hip dysplasia are found early, corrective treatment is easy and removes long-lasting problems associated with this congenital disorder.

Reflex Check

Your baby is born with innate reflexes to help facilitate their growth and development. To make sure that they’re developing properly, your doctor will check your baby’s reflexes by startling them and recording their reactions. This reaction is called a Moro reflex and indicates normal development and neurological connections. Your doctor will continue to do this during the first few appointments alongside age-appropriate reflexes as your baby grows.

Pulse Check

Checking the pulse is something that occurs at every doctor’s appointment from birth until old age. It allows your pediatrician to see if your newborn has a weak pulse, which may be indicative of a heart condition. Checking for these variations from an early age also develops a normal baseline for comparison as your child grows. Early detection of heart conditions creates substantially more optimistic outcomes for recovery, which is another reason parents should never skip newborn appointments.

Genitalia Check

During every pediatric visit, your baby’s doctor will also check their private parts for signs of normal development. Boys can be born with undescended testicles and girls may have labial adhesions. Both conditions may correct themselves over time, but your pediatrician will need to monitor them in case they need corrective assistance.

Umbilical Cord Exam

Your baby’s umbilical cord will still be attached for the first few weeks of life. Before it falls off on its own, you’ll need to care for it to reduce the risk of complications or infection. During your baby’s first doctor visit, a general umbilical cord exam will be performed to make sure that it’s healthy and progressing normally.

During this initial visit, your pediatrician will also discuss your baby’s feeding patterns, check their weight, and ask about their digestive systems. If your baby is experiencing signs of constipation or bowel problems, don’t wait until their first scheduled exam to express concern. Your pediatrician will also discuss your baby’s sleep schedule and help make sure that you’re following safe sleeping patterns to reduce the likelihood of SIDS.

Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician

Chances are you’ve accumulated a very long list of questions during the first few days with your newborn. This is completely normal. Rather than going online and falling down a rabbit hole of baby paranoia, write your questions down so that you can discuss them with a medical professional you trust. Some questions to ask your pediatrician during the initial visit include:



These are great starting questions, but feel free to ask as many as you need. Your pediatrician is used to answering hundreds of questions and is there to help you feel confident and comfortable during your transition into parenthood.

How to Make Sure You’re Prepared for Your Baby’s First Doctor Visit

The most important way to make sure you’re prepared for your baby’s first doctor visit is to get it scheduled and keep track of your baby’s habits during those first few days of life. To provide your pediatrician with thorough information, consider keeping a feeding journal and information on how long they’ve been sleeping. There are thousands of great apps available for you to record this information in an accessible and streamlined way. When going to your appointment, confirm that you have your insurance card along with any paperwork from the hospital.

Before leaving your pediatrician’s office, you should create a schedule of follow up appointments for the first year of your baby’s life. This gives you the chance to get everything scheduled so you don’t forget. You can always contact your pediatrician or make additional appointments if you have questions or concerns, but try to plan out visits for 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Ask for reminders from the office and add them to your calendar. To help you get the most out of your first year of parenthood, Byram Healthcare has a wide selection of breast pumps available to new and expecting mothers. Breast pumping is a great way to supplement feedings and make sure your newborn is getting what they need, no matter what. To get started with our easy, three-step ordering process, visit our breast pump selection page today.