Medical Care and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old
During these early months, you might have many questions about your baby's health. Most doctors have phone hours when parents can call with routine questions. Don't hesitate to call with your concerns, no matter how minor they might seem.
Of course, if you think your baby could have an illness, don't wait for phone hours — call your doctor immediately. As in the newborn period, illness at this age needs immediate attention.
Babies are checked for growth, development, and feeding, among other things. These regular checkups also let your doctor follow up on any concerns from earlier checkups and are a chance for you to ask questions.
What Happens at the Office Visit
During these early months, your doctor will check your baby's progress and growth. Common parts of a checkup include:
- weight, length, and head circumference measurements that are plotted on your baby's growth chart
- a physical exam with special attention to any previous problems
- assessing development (for example, head control, cooing, and smiling)
- questions about how you're doing with your baby
- advice about feeding and other aspects of nutrition
- what to expect during the coming months, including a discussion about safety precautions
- immunizations during some visits
Bring up any questions you have, and write down the answers or specific instructions the doctor gives you. At home, update your baby's medical record, tracking growth and any problems or illnesses.
At 1–2 months old, your baby should receive the second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine (HBV).
At 2 months, your baby will get other immunizations:
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine
- IPV (polio vaccine)
- PCV (pneumococcal) vaccines
- RV (rotavirus vaccine)
- possibly HBV (hepatitis B vaccine), if not previously given
Babies at high risk for meningococcal disease, which can lead to bacterial meningitis and other serious conditions, may get the meningococcal vaccine. (Otherwise, the meningococcal vaccine is routinely given at 11–12 years old.)
Vaccines protect against serious childhood illnesses. Vaccines, like any other medicine, may cause reactions (usually mild), such as fever or irritability. Be sure to discuss side effects with your doctor and get guidelines for when to call the office.
When to Call the Doctor
Some common medical problems at this age may need a doctor's attention, including:
- diarrhea and vomiting, which could be caused by an infection and put your infant at risk for dehydration
- ear infections; a baby with an ear infection may become irritable, and could have a fever
- rashes, which are common in infants. Some may not seem to bother your baby, but skin conditions like eczema can result in dry, itchy skin. Your doctor can recommend lotions, creams, and soaps to try.
- upper respiratory tract infections (including the common cold), which affect infants just like the rest of us. Babies can't blow their own noses, so you may need to help clear mucus with a rubber bulb aspirator. Don't give your baby any medicines without checking first with your doctor. Call the doctor's office right away if your baby has trouble breathing, refuses to eat, has a rectal temperature above 100.4°F (38°C), or is excessively cranky or sleepy.
Again, don't hesitate to contact the doctor's office about any health or behavior concerns.