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What to expect
Photos by Steve LaBadessa
These slides show you what will happen at the 9-month well-baby checkup. Here Dr. Juliana Damon is talking to mom Nicole and getting ready to examine baby Colton at East Bay Pediatrics in Orinda, CA.
Once the exam is complete, the doctor will probably ask you a series of questions about your child's health, sleeping habits, and feeding habits. Jot down your answers on our printable doctor visit worksheet to take with you to the appointment.
The doctor (or an assistant) weighs your baby to make sure he's growing at a healthy rate. You'll need to undress your baby completely for weighing.
The doctor (or an assistant) measures the length of your baby's body.
The doctor (or an assistant) measures your baby's head to track the growth of his brain.
The growth chart
The doctor plots your baby's weight, length, and head circumference on a growth chart.
The chart lets you to see how your baby compares with other children the same age. If he's slowed down a little in his growth rate, that's okay – most babies do at this age as they settle into a long-term growth pattern.
Heart and lungs
Using a stethoscope, the doctor listens to your baby's heart and lungs to check for abnormal heart rhythms or breathing problems.
The doctor checks your baby's eyes for signs of congenital conditions and other problems. The eyes and eyelids may also be checked for blocked tear ducts, discharge, and other signs of infection.
The doctor looks for signs of infection and observes how your baby responds to sound.
The doctor checks for signs of infection and any new teeth.
The doctor looks at the soft spots (fontanels) and the shape of your baby's head.
The doctor checks your baby's reflexes and muscle tone and examines his skin for rashes and paleness. Pale skin is a sign of iron-deficiency ,which babies are at high risk for between 9 and 24 months.
The doctor gently presses on your baby's abdomen to check for a hernia or enlarged organs.
The doctor opens your baby's diaper and checks the genitals for signs of infection.
The doctor moves your baby's legs around to look for problems in the hip joints.
Your baby will receive any missed immunizations. He may also be due for a flu shot if it's flu season.
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.
Other health concerns
The doctor will address any health concerns (such as how to tell if your baby has croup or an ear infection), ask you some question , and help you understand what's normal at this age.
Jenny is an editor and journalist living in Oakland, CA.
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