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New Ulm Medical Center

Well-child visits: a great opportunity for parents

Well-child visits help keep your child healthy. What happens at these appointments? Your child’s doctor may weigh, measure and check your child’s growth, sight, hearing and teeth. The doctor may also give your child shots to prevent disease and test your child for illnesses.

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Baby Zachary’s weight was checked by New Ulm Medical Center nurse Julie Huiras during a recent well-child visit. These kinds of visits to the doctor are important tools for health care providers to screen for medical and developmental issues as well as completing required immunizations.

“Well-child visits are an important tool that health care providers use to screen for medical and developmental issues, and to complete required immunizations,” said Diane Adamski, MD, chairwoman of the Allina Health ambulatory pediatrics council.

“In addition to the medical exam and shots, a well-child visit is a chance for parents to talk with the doctor,” Adamski said. “It’s a great opportunity to discuss child safety, eating and development.”

When you bring a baby to well-child visits, you might want to take a friend or family member. It will be easier to talk to the doctor if someone can help you with your baby. Parents should take their babies for well-child visits at these ages:

  • 2 weeks
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months
  • 15 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months (2 years)
  • once a year after age 2.

You can prepare your child for a doctor’s visit by talking about what will happen at the doctor’s office, or by demonstrating with a toy. It can help calm fears if you let your child play with medical toys, such as a toy thermometer. Be honest if something, such as a shot, will hurt. But keep your talk short and tell your child it will only hurt for a little while. Teach your child to relax by breathing slowly or counting. Try counting make-believe animals while getting a shot. It may also help to tell your child you will stay in the doctor’s office the whole time, and then do it.

“Well-child visits provide a great opportunity for parents and children to build a relationship with their pediatric or family medicine provider,” Adamski said.

To schedule a well-child visit at New Ulm Medical Center call 507-217-5011.