Your Baby's First Visit to the Doctor

The nurse or doctor told you that your baby must be checked in just a few days. But she was checked six times in the hospital! Everyone says she is healthy. What is this all about? You thought you were through with doctors for a while!

Yes, your baby is healthy and normal — and no, she doesn't need to be in the hospital. So why does she need to be checked by a doctor so soon? It is because she is a brand new baby. The amazing process of adapting to the outside world isn't over in one or two days.

First Visit

Lots of things are still changing and adapting in her body. It actually takes weeks for her body systems to adjust to life outside of mom's uterus. It will be a couple of weeks for her eyes to get used to daylight. Her digestive system and her nervous system need six to eight weeks to adjust.

Most babies adjust just fine, but some don't. We doctors want to know sooner rather than later if a baby is having trouble. We can do a much better job of taking care of a baby that is having trouble adapting if we know in two days instead of in two weeks.

› Choosing a doctor for your baby.

Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.