Your baby has now entered the toddler years, and you're in for quite a ride! By now, she may be walking, throwing, exploring everything, and expressing feelings -- including anger. Whew! This is a good time to talk to your pediatrician about safety, behavior, and discipline.
Here's what to expect at your toddler's 15-month checkup.
You Can Expect Your Pediatrician to:
- Weigh and measure your child
- Perform a physical exam of your child
- Give your child another dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, Hib vaccine, or pneumococcal vaccine, and in the fall or winter, a flu shot
- Depending on the schedule being followed, the measles and chicken pox vaccines may also be given at this time
- Catch up on any other vaccines that have been missed
Questions Your Pediatrician May Ask:
- How's your child's appetite?
- Is she eating a variety of foods?
- Does she use her fingers to feed herself?
- Is she using a bottle?
- How many hours is your child sleeping, including naps?
Feeding Questions You May Have
- How can I encourage my child to try different foods?
- What foods are most nutritious for my child?
- Keep offering new foods. If your child doesn't like a food one week, she may love it the next. It takes many times for a child to like some foods, so don't give up! This is your window of opportunity to widen her palate.
- Small children like to imitate their parents. If your child sees you eating a variety of foods, she may do the same.
- Stick to mostly unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables. These provide great nutrition for your baby's growing brain and body.
- Whole grains are also a good source of nutrition.
- Keep cutting your child's food into small pieces, staying mindful of potential choking hazards.
Safety Questions You May Have
- How can I keep my child safe when she's moving full speed ahead?
- Is it too soon to start using sunscreen?
- Should she sit in a rear-facing car seat or a forward-facing car seat?
Beef up home safety with measures like these:
- Double-check that cords, choking hazards, and hard, sharp, or breakable objects are out of reach.
- Make sure all household cleaners and detergents are high up or in locked cabinets.
- Make sure all electrical sockets are covered.
- Keep the bathroom door closed and the toilet seat down.
- Make sure the crib mattress is at its lowest level.
To protect your child from getting too much sun:
- Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Cover her up with a wide-brim hat and long sleeves and pants.
- Use a child's sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more that says "broad spectrum" on the label. Remember to reapply it frequently.
Behavior Questions You May Have
- What happened to my sweet baby? Now she hits me and thinks it's funny!
- What's the best way to handle a tantrum?
- Start setting a few simple rules and stick to them.
- Boundaries and structure make children feel secure.
- Give your child choices when you can. And try to talk to her about plans and schedule. Remember, she understands much more than she expresses.
- Tantrums tend to happen more when toddlers are hungry, tired, or faced with deviations from the normal schedule.
- Distracting or removing your child from a situation can help head off a tantrum.
- Once a tantrum begins, make sure your child is in a safe place.
- Then ignore the tantrum or hold your child quietly.
- Try to remember that tantrums are a normal part of development.
Just a few months ago, your child was a baby. Now she's making her first attempts at independence and that's OK. Your pediatrician can help you find the right balance between encouraging that independence and keeping her safe. And remember to continue to offer her new foods, especially fruits and veggies, so she can be a healthy eater.