Baby's First Checkup: What to Expect

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on May 02, 2023
newborn baby

This may be your first big "trip" away from home with baby. Everything is still so new, and you probably have many questions. This is a great time to talk to your baby's doctor!

Here's what to expect at your baby's first checkup.

  • Measure your baby's weight, length, and head circumference
  • Examine your baby's eyes and test reflexes as part of a complete physical exam
  • Give a hepatitis B vaccine if your baby didn't get it at the hospital
  • When is your baby nursing and how often?
  • What are baby's bowel movements like?
  • How many wet diapers is baby having?
  • How is your baby sleeping?
  • What position does baby sleep in?
  • How often should my baby be eating?
  • How do I know if they are getting enough?
  • Be sure to breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours or formula feed about 1½ ounces every 2 to 4 hours. At this age, you will need to wake up baby to feed them if they have been sleeping for more than 4 hours.
  • If your baby seems satisfied after feeding, then they are probably getting enough.
  • Another way to tell if your baby is eating enough is the number of diapers that are soiled. By day 4 of life you should expect 5 to 6 wet diapers and 4 to 5 poopy ones a day.
  • Once your milk is in, your baby's poops should be soft and yellowish and may appear to have seeds in it.
  • If you are having difficulties with nursing, ask your pediatrician to refer you to a lactation consultant.
  • Can I put my baby on an adult bed or sofa to sleep?
  • How can I prevent SIDS?
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, always put your baby to sleep on their back.
  • Put your baby in a safe crib on a firm,flat surface, not on a bed, sofa, chair, waterbed, or cushion.
  • Keep stuffed toys, pillows, and fluffy bedding out of the crib.
  • You may swaddle, but do not place loose blankets in the crib with your baby.
  • Have them sleep in your room but not in your bed.
  • If they fall asleep in a stroller, carrier, swing or baby sling, try to get them on a flat surface for the rest of their nap.
  • Don’t rely on any device which claims to prevent SIDS, such as monitors, wedges, and positioners.
  • Infants may cry when they're too hot or cold, have a wet diaper or an upset stomach, are hungry or tired, or just want to be held.
  • If your infant doesn't need to be fed or changed, cuddle or swaddle them, rock or walk with them, play white noise, or sing or play soft music.
  • Offer a pacifier. It can help calm them and has also been found to help prevent SIDS.
  • Don't worry -- you can't spoil your baby now!

Try to have as much skin-to-skin contact with your baby in these early months because it helps with their neurological development.

It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed during the first several weeks with your baby. Don't be too hard on yourself! It can take several weeks before you'll begin feeling more comfortable, confident, and rested because you are still getting to know your baby and your baby's needs. Don't hesitate to ask for help from family and friends when you need it or to call your pediatrician with any questions.