New motherhood is a wonderful (even though extremely exhausting) experience, but it can also be a stressful time, more so if you are a first-time mother. You don’t know what to expect (even though you have probably read several books through pregnancy), especially regarding your baby’s health and well-being. The slightest shift from normalcy can be hugely worrying: Why is my baby’s poop a different colour? What is that rash on his back? Why is he asking for more milk?
And while this is normal, it is also essential to make sure you are on top of things as far as your baby’s medical checks and vaccinations are concerned. And this applies to older children too. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so if you suspect something is not right or aren’t sure of a particular symptom your baby/child has, don’t think twice and have it checked.
Here are a few checks to keep in mind during your child’s growing-up years.
The Newborn Physical Examination
This is one of the first checks your baby will have; it is carried out a few hours
(or within the first 72 hours) after the baby is born. This check aims to spot any
problems early on, in which case treatment can be started at the earliest.
The baby’s eyes, heart, hip joints and testicles (for boys) are examined to see
if everything is normal.
The Six-Eight Week Check
When your baby is between six to eight weeks old, there is another check to see if
everything is fine and whether your baby is developing well. Your baby will be measured
for weight and height again at this check, which will also give an idea if he or she
is feeding well.
While serious eye problems in children are rare, it is vital to have regular eye tests for
them. Children might not realise there is a problem until it is too late or unless they suffer
from constant headaches. And with children today being exposed to screens far more
than before, it is essential to regularly check their eyesight. Contact us for all your eye
concerns or for a wide range of glasses.
After birth, your child’s eyes might be tested again during the vision screening check
when they are around four or five years old, once they start school.
Your baby’s hearing will also be checked around 4-5 weeks of age. There will not be a
need to check your child’s hearing in later years if all is well; however, if your child is not
speaking or interacting as other children their age, it might be worth doing another hearing
test to see if that is, in fact, the problem for their speech delay.
It is not routine to have an allergy test for your child; however, if you feel your baby or
toddler is allergic to certain food groups (like dairy or nuts), or something external like
pollen, it is better to have an allergy test sooner than later. Some allergies might be mild,
but sometimes allergies can flare up and become serious, so it’s best to find out and be safe.
Again, dyslexia is something you should only test your child for IF you find your child
struggling with basic reading, writing, spelling and numbers. It is a very specific learning
disability, and if detected earlier on, it can help both the child and the parents deal with it
more effectively and help the child get the support he or she needs.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not always simple to diagnose as it ranges through
a broad spectrum. Some children are considered borderline ADHD but it often takes years to
come to a valid conclusion on the same. However, if you feel your child is on the spectrum or
shows signs of having ADHD, do see a specialist and ask for your child to be screened and
tested as again, early detection can help your child.
It is also crucial to keep abreast of the necessary vaccinations for your child, from their
routine vaccinations as babies through their toddler years and then teen years. The NHS
offers children of school-going age the flu vaccination every year via their school, so keep a
note of that and help protect your child against the flu during the winter months.