Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

The Importance of Well-Baby Visits

WebMD Magazine - Feature

In your baby's first year, every month brings changes: tiny smiles, budding teeth, and eventually, crawling and walking. During well-baby visits, your pediatrician will check for proper growth and development and answer your questions about eating, sleeping, and vaccinations.

The first exam should be 24 to 48 hours after your newborn leaves the hospital, says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP. She's a clinical instructor at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA and author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers.

Later visits typically happen at 2 weeks and at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age, she says. Here's what you can expect during well-baby checkups.

Baby Growth

During each visit, the doctor will measure your infant's weight, length, and head circumference. "I examine every baby from head to toe," Altmann says. "The first year is such a crucial time, and we want to make sure that babies are on track and doing everything that they should be."

The doctor will make sure that the fontanels (soft spots on your baby's head) are closing properly. She will also check your infant's eyes, ears, and mouth and listen to the heart and lungs. Next, the doctor will feel your baby's abdomen and check the genital area. She'll also look for rashes and jaundice and examine the arms, legs, and hips.

While every parent loves a checkup that ends with a clean bill of health, the exams are crucial to uncover problems, such as hernias, undescended testicles, or heart murmurs that require a specialist's attention. Spotting health problems early may mean improved treatment, Altmann says. For example, she says, "there's something called congenital hip dysplasia where the hip doesn't develop properly in the socket, and if you catch it early, it's something that is completely correctable."

Doctors also look for developmental markers at each visit, she says, such as your baby's ability to make eye contact, smile at you, or sit up without support.

Baby Vaccinations

Your baby will get the first recommended vaccination, the hepatitis B vaccine, before leaving the hospital, Altmann says. At later well visits, your baby will receive vaccines to prevent whooping cough, mumps, measles, and other childhood diseases.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow