Understanding Medical Needs for a Baby’s First Years

Understanding Medical Needs for a Baby's First Years
Understanding Medical Needs for a Baby's First Years

Understanding Medical Needs for a Baby’s First Years : Having a new baby comes with plenty of exciting firsts, such as the first smile, first step, and first word. However, it also means some unpleasant firsts, such as the first fever and cold. Along with setting up the nursery and getting all the new baby gear put together, make sure you also understand the medical needs your baby will face during his or her first few years.

Well-Child Care Visits

While you know you need to take your baby to the doctor if he or she is sick, well-child care visits are equally as important. During these visits, your child’s pediatrician will track growth and weight gain, review developmental milestones, and discuss any issues with sleep, diet, or behavior. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a recommended schedule parents and pediatricians should follow for well-child care visits. While you and your baby will be seeing the pediatrician every few months right after birth, you’ll eventually only need to schedule annual  visits.


Another important part of well-child care visits is making sure your baby gets his or her immunizations. Although the immunization schedule may vary depending on where you live and the type of vaccines available, many pediatricians follow the schedule created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep in mind that it’s possible for your child to get some of the vaccines as part of a combination, which means he or she will get fewer shots.

Child Immunization
Child Immunization

Common Health Issues

Between contact with other children and a curious nature, children always seem to have some type of new rash or sniffle. In fact, many babies will get several colds during their first year. If your baby has a cold and has trouble breathing, try using a nasal aspirator to clear some of the congestion. Letting your baby sit in the bathroom while you take a hot shower can also help with congestion. Constipation is another health issue many babies experience when they make the switch to solid foods. If your baby is constipated, increasing water and fiber intake can help.

Another common issue many babies experience is gastroesophageal reflux (GER). This condition occurs when stomach acid and contents from the stomach regurgitate back into the esophagus. Babies deal with GER because the muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and esophagus isn’t fully formed when they’re born. Although GER is upsetting for parents and babies because symptoms often include frequent spitting up or vomiting, mild cases are easily treated at home by offering smaller and more frequent feedings and keeping your baby upright at least 30 minutes after each feeding.

When to Call the Doctor

As a parent, you’ll frequently wrestle with the decision about when you should call the doctor. Whether it’s a minor illness or parenting question, you shouldn’t hesitate to call your pediatrician. However, you’ll face certain times when you’ll always want to call. If your baby is younger than 3 months and has a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, call your pediatrician.

While one episode of vomiting or diarrhea isn’t anything to worry about, if your baby can’t keep fluids down, dehydration becomes a concern, so you’ll want to make a call. Additionally, if your baby has a cough that lasts longer than a week or a stuffy nose for more than 10 days, you should call the pediatrician.

Budgeting for Medical Expenses

While many parents budget for extra diapers and childcare expenses, they don’t make plans for medical expenses. The average parent will pay $1,297 in out-of-pocket expenses during a child’s first year. While you can’t possibly predict how much you’ll have to pay in medical expenses, you can make plans to prepare.

First, find out how much your insurance will cover your new baby. If necessary, you can add Medicare supplement plans to cover what your insurance won’t pay. Finally, as you’re preparing your new budget for after your baby arrives, don’t forget to set aside some money each month for unexpected medical expenses.

As you’re making plans to welcome your new baby, be sure you understand the medical needs you and your child will face during the first few years.





Understanding Medical Needs for a Baby’s First Years

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