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To prepare for your baby's 2-month checkup, learn what will happen at the visit. You may also want to consider the questions the doctor is likely to ask and jot down answers beforehand.
What the doctor will do
Weigh and measure your baby
You'll need to undress your baby completely for weighing. The doctor weighs your baby, measures length and head circumference, and plots the numbers on a growth chart.
The chart enables you to see how your baby compares with other children the same age. But it doesn't matter whether she's in the 5th or the 95th percentile, as long as her rate of growth is steady from one visit to the next.
Do a complete physical
- Heart and lungs: Uses a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal heart rhythms or breathing problems.
- Eyes: Checks for signs of congenital eye conditions and other problems. May also check for blocked tear ducts and discharge.
- Ears: Looks for signs of infection and observes how your baby responds to sound.
- Mouth: Looks for signs of thrush (an oral yeast infection) among other things.
- Head: Checks the soft spots (fontanels) and the shape of your baby's head. Also checks to see if your baby's head is developing a flat spot (now's the time to catch it).
- Body: Checks your baby's reflexes and muscle tone, and examines the skin for rashes.
- Belly: Presses gently on the abdomen to check for a hernia or any enlarged organs.
- Genitals: Opens your baby's diaper and checks for signs of infection.
- Hips and legs: Moves your baby's legs around to look for problems in the hip joints.
Give your baby her shots
Your baby will receive the pneumococcal, DTaP, Hib, and polio vaccines (combined in two shots) and the rotavirus vaccine (given orally). She'll also get the second hepatitis B now if she didn't get it at the 1-month checkup.
An assistant may administer the vaccines. This is usually done at the end of the appointment so you can have some privacy afterward to comfort your baby.
Address any other concerns
Your doctor will recommend giving vitamin D drops to breastfed babies. (Babies who drink 17 to 32 ounces of formula a day are getting enough vitamin D.)
The doctor will also address any health concerns (such as reflux, baby acne, and diaper rash), ask you some questions (see below), and help you understand what's normal at this age.
Questions the doctor may ask:
- How is your baby sleeping? At this age, many babies are starting to sleep a little longer at night – maybe even staying asleep for a 4- or 5-hour stretch – and less during the day. They're still snoozing 14 to 16 hours a day on average.
- When, how, and how often is your baby eating? Most 2-month-olds still eat every two to three hours, though they may begin to eat slightly less often later this month. The doctor asks feeding questions to determine whether your baby is getting enough breast milk or formula to thrive.
- What are your baby's bowel movements like? Soft feces are best, but color can vary. Dry or pellet-like stools are a sign of dehydration, or a sign of constipation. Tell your doctor if you notice this.
- What is your baby's crying pattern? If your baby is particularly fussy or colicky, the doctor may suggest ways to soothe him. Have you noticed a change? Many babies begin to "settle" at about 8 weeks.
- How's your baby's head control? Head control is an important developmental milestone. By now your baby should be able to hold his head up when he's on his stomach.
- Can your baby push up on his forearms? This development in your baby's strength and coordination, which could happen this month or next, is the precursor to the mini-pushup he'll master at about 4 months.
- How does your baby respond when you talk to him? At this age, your baby should be cooing on his own and at you – it's one of the first steps in his language development.
- Does your baby smile? Most babies are smiling voluntarily by this age – it's one of their earliest social behaviors.
- Have you noticed anything unusual about your baby's eyes or the way he looks at things? At every well-baby visit, the doctor should check the structure and alignment of the eyes and your baby's ability to move them correctly.
- How's your baby's hearing? Hearing is mature from birth, so if your baby's not turning toward voices, especially familiar ones, tell the doctor.
- What's your baby's posture like? By now your baby should have relaxed a bit from the scrunched-up fetal position. His legs should come down when he's lying on his back. But if he's overly limp – he feels like he'll slip out of your arms – or has uneven movements, tell your doctor.
- Are you giving your baby tummy time when he's awake? Supervised tummy time – when your child is awake and active – helps babies learn to push up, roll over, and eventually crawl. It also helps them avoid getting a flat spot on the back of the head.
- Find out what's in store at the 4-month doctor visit.