Your baby's vaccines

Your baby will need various vaccines at well-baby visits.

During each injection, swaddle your baby or hold him or her close. Softly sing a familiar song or whisper reassuring words. Offer a pacifier, blanket or other comfort object. Your presence and calm reassurance can help your baby feel secure.

You might also talk with the doctor ahead of time about numbing creams for your baby's skin or other ways to decrease the pain of injections.

Unless your baby has special needs or concerns, lab tests aren't needed at most well-baby exams.

Time to talk

During the appointment, your baby's doctor will likely ask how things are going. Be ready to describe a typical day with your baby. For example:

  • How many hours does your baby sleep during the day? At night?
  • How often do you feed your baby? If you're breast-feeding, are you having any trouble?
  • How many diapers does your baby wet and soil in a day?
  • How active is your baby?
  • Are you including tummy time in your baby's activities?
  • How is your baby's temperament?

In addition, your baby's doctor might ask questions about your family's home life and medical history.

The doctor might also discuss safety issues, such as placing your baby to sleep on his or her back and using a rear-facing infant car seat. As your baby becomes more mobile, the doctor might give you tips for childproofing your home.

Although breast milk or formula will be the main part of your baby's diet throughout the first year, you'll also talk about when to introduce solid foods.

Undoubtedly, you'll have questions, too. Ask away! Nothing is too trivial when it comes to caring for your baby.

Also remember your own health. If you're feeling depressed, stressed out or rundown, describe what's happening. Your baby's doctor is there to help you, too.

Heading home

Make sure you know when to schedule your baby's next appointment — and how to reach the doctor in the meantime. Ask if the doctor's office or clinic offers a 24-hour nurse information service. Knowing help is available when you need it can offer peace of mind.

July 26, 2012 See more In-depth