Once your baby is 6 weeks old, it’s time for their 6 week check-up. This is to ensure that your little one is healthy and developing normally. You can go to your GP for this check, or you may be asked to return to the hospital. The 6-week check-up is a thorough ‘top to tail’ review of your baby’s health, so it’s important to attend. The sooner any issues or abnormalities are identified, the easier they are to treat.
Here’s what happens at baby’s 6 week check-up:
The doctor will weigh and measure your baby. This is to to ensure your little one is not underweight or under-developed in any way. You will be asked about your baby’s feeding and sleeping habits. So if you have any questions about these, it’s the perfect time to ask.
If these have not already been checked in the hospital, the doctor will test your little one’s reflexes. Tests such as the ‘walking reflex’ will be carried out, where your baby will instinctively mimic walking with their feet. The doctor will check your child’s grasp and ‘startle’ reflexes to make sure all responses are normal.
The doctor will examine the fontanelles, or ‘soft spots’ on your baby’s head to check they are starting to close. They will also examine your baby’s skull for signs of plagiocephaly, or flat-head syndrome.
The eyes and ears will be inspected for any physical abnormalities and the doctor will check that your baby is responding to sight and sound stimulus as normal.
Your little one’s mouth will be checked for signs of tongue tie or cleft palate and to see if any early teeth are on the way. The doctor may also look out for a white coating on your baby’s tongue which can indicate thrush.
Heart, lungs, stomach
The doctor will listen to your baby’s heart and lungs to check for congestion or irregular activity. Your baby’s stomach will be checked for size and shape and they will examine the site of the umbilical cord, to check it is healing properly without any infection.
Hips and spine
This is where the doctor will move your little one’s legs in a running motion to check for congenital dislocating hips, or hip dysplasia. They may also check your little one’s spine for signs of abnormality such as scoliosis.
You will need to remove baby’s nappy so the doctor can inspect the genitals. This is important to ensure there are no abnormalities in this area for boys or girls.
Lastly, your baby’s skin will be checked and any birthmarks/moles will be taken note of for future reference.
The doctor will need to undress your baby so make sure to dress them in clothes that are easy to remove and bring spare nappies for afterwards.
The 6 week check-up is a great opportunity to ask any questions that might have cropped up since birth, so be sure to write them down beforehand and take them along, as it’s easy to forget once you are there.
No doubt your baby will be fed up being poked and prodded and may be very vocal about it by the end! A little feed and a cuddle will comfort them.
Remember, if there is anything you are concerned about, this 6 week check-up is the ideal time to bring it up, no matter how trivial you think they might be. Whether you are new to this or are an experienced mum, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask. You’ve got this.
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