Baby's First Exam: What to Expect

Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on September 23, 2021
mother holding newborn baby

Congratulations! Your beautiful baby is finally here. What a journey!

Your baby's doctor will examine your infant for the first time while you're still in the hospital. Don't worry if you're too tired to even know what questions to ask. Your baby's doctor will talk about what is most important.

Here's what to expect at your baby's first exam while in the hospital.

You Can Expect Your Baby's Doctor to:

  • Examine your newborn's weight, length, and head size and perform a complete exam
  • Possibly give your baby their first hepatitis B vaccine to protect against a serious liver disease
  • Discuss circumcision if your baby is a boy
  • Discuss the hearing test, metabolic screen, and heart screen that will be done prior to discharge
  • Encourage you and your immediate family to get the Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine


Questions Your Baby's Doctor May Ask

  • Have you been on any medications?
  • Do you have  any chronic illnesses?
  • When did your water break?
  • Did you have antibiotics during delivery?
  • Did you have your hepatitis B vaccine?
  • Are you having any changes in your breast?


Questions You May Have About Feeding Your Baby

  • When will my milk come in?
  • Is my baby latching to my breast well?

Feeding Tips

  • If you are breastfeeding, your milk will probably come in within 2 to 3 days.
  • It may come in a little later if you had a C-section.
  • Until then, your breasts will produce a thin, clear liquid called colostrum that is good for your baby. So try to put your baby to the breast every 2 to 3 hours. This will help your milk come in and give your baby valuable nutrients.
  • A lactation specialist at the hospital can make sure your newborn is latching on correctly. Make sure you ask to see the lactation specialist so you can get the help.


Diaper Questions You May Have

  • How many wet diapers should my newborn have?
  • What color should their poop be?


Diapering Tips

  • For the first week, your baby should have as many diapers as they are days old. For example, on the first day, it should be 1 to 2 wet diapers; by day 4, at least 4 wet diapers.
  • They will have a really dark, thick poop in the first 48 hours.

You'll be seeing a lot of your baby's doctor during the next year, so it's nice to get your relationship going right away.

Now get plenty of rest before starting the next amazing and most challenging chapter -- caring for your baby at home!