What can I expect from a visit to my child's doctor?

“Well-baby” or “well-child” visits are a lot like an adult’s annual check-ups, but focus on your child's age and stage of development.

Your baby should have regular visits to the doctor at 2,4, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months, 2 years, and then once every year until 5 years of age. When your child is 5 years old, she should see her doctor every 1 or 2 years until she is 18 years old.

A well-baby/child visit usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes. Your doctor and her staff will:

  • Check your child's weight, height and head circumference.
  • Discuss your child's eating habits and answer any questions about nutrition and physical activity.
  • Provide advice about safety and other issues related to your child's age and abilities such as when to switch to a forward-facing car seat.
  • Ask about milestones, such as self-feeding or toilet learning.
  • Ask about your child's social and emotional development, such as learning words. When your child gets older, this is a good time to discuss any learning problems in school and any social or emotional issues. You might also want to discuss any problems that are happening at home.
  • Do a physical exam, such as looking at eyes and ears and listening to your child’s heart.
  • Give your child any recommended vaccines.
  • See an older child and adolescents without a parent or guardian in the room for part of the visit.

If you have questions or concerns that could take longer than the regular 15-minute visit, let your doctor’s staff know when you schedule the appointment. That way, enough time can be scheduled to answer your concerns.