A new parent’s guide to infant check-ups in the first year

By: Osler Health International
Posted on: 14 Feb 2024

Welcoming a new baby into your family is an exciting journey filled with joy, learning, and, naturally, a bit of anxiety, especially when it comes to ensuring your infant’s health and well-being. After all, the first year of your newborn’s life is a period of rapid growth and development. This makes regular health check-ups, also referred to as well-baby visits, a key part of their care.

What do we mean by well-baby visit and vaccination schedules? 

In the first year of life there are various newborn check-ups and vaccinations, The Ministry of Health (MOH) provides a comprehensive screening and vaccination schedule, however you can follow the immunisation schedule of your home country if you are an expat and are planning on moving to your home country at some stage All developmental assessments and vaccinations support your baby’s health in these early stages of life.

Childhood Developmental Assessments

It’s acknowledged that children develop at their own pace; however, there exists a general timeframe by which most children are expected to reach certain developmental stages. As such, there are specific intervals for childhood screenings that align with crucial developmental periods in a child’s life.

By adhering to screening intervals, parents and healthcare providers can ensure that any developmental delays or concerns are detected and addressed as early as possible, maximising the potential for positive outcomes.

Timeline of infant check-ups and vaccinations for their first year

Here’s what to expect on your visit with your baby’s doctor in Singapore. The following outlines what you can expect from a general developmental assessment schedule. Remember you can choose which doctor you wish to see, you do not need to see a specialist for the below.

On the day of birth

Within the first 24 hours after birth, typically while still in the hospital, your newborn will undergo their initial health examination. During this check-up, the doctor will conduct a comprehensive review of your baby’s overall health and basic newborn reflexes from head to toe. They will also provide advice on any concerns related to weight or feeding. Additionally, your baby will receive their first hearing test and an evaluation of their oxygen levels.

For their initial vaccinations, they will receive a shot for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to protect against tuberculosis and the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine.

1 month after birth

Within 1 month after their birth, your baby will undergo comprehensive newborn screening tests to detect metabolic, genetic, and endocrine disorders. There will also be an assessment for jaundice to check liver function and bilirubin levels. The physician will also evaluate their feeding efficacy and weight gain trajectory. This check-up will lay the groundwork for ongoing infant developmental assessments.

2 months after birth

A thorough physical examination is conducted, with in-depth discussions on feeding (breastfeeding or formula), sleep patterns, and developmental surveillance to track milestones. This visit is vital for addressing any concerns that have surfaced in the initial month. For their immunisations, it’s expected that they will receive shots for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (DTaP), Inactivated Poliovirus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

4 months after birth

The four-month check-up is a milestone event, as your infant will have experienced significant growth in the span of two months since the last well-visit. At this stage of their development, your infant has now shown increased awareness of their surroundings. With this, the physician will be asking questions about how your baby is doing in terms of development. The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) will also be administered to protect against pneumococcal infections, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis, among other conditions.

6 months after birth

This period marks a significant shift towards evaluating developmental milestones, offering guidance on nutrition with the introduction of solid foods, and ongoing growth monitoring to ensure healthy development. Additional assessments may include checking for physical development adequacy, cognitive and motor skills progression, and ensuring emotional and social developmental milestones are being met.

12 Months after birth

This milestone check-up involves a thorough review of growth, development, and behavioural milestones, celebrating the achievements of your infant’s first year. It also includes additional vaccinations and discussions about transitioning to family foods and creating a safe environment for a newly mobile child.

For your child’s vaccinations, they will include Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Varicella (chickenpox), which are pivotal in protecting against these common and potentially severe childhood illnesses.

Finding the right family doctor for your newborn

Selecting the right doctor for your newborn is a key decision.It goes beyond just assessing a doctor’s expertise, it is important that you feel comfortable and trust your chosen family doctor.

If you are not sure on which clinic to choose – perhaps start with looking at Google reviews (these are organic from other patients and offer unbiased opinion) as well as online forums (expat online communities can be incredibly valuable). Recommendations from those who have already navigated the healthcare landscape can guide you to clinics or practitioners known for their competency in supporting pre-natal and postnatal health. You can also visit an expat women’s health clinic or consult general practice doctors who specialise in paediatric care for expat children.

If you’re a new parent who wants more health tips, check out our guide on pre-natal check-ups for expecting mothers.

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