Well-baby visits, also known as well-child visits, are routine checkups focused on the growth and development of your child. These visits start right after your child is born and will continue till they turn 18 years old. The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has developed a series of guidelines known as the Childhood Developmental Screening (CDS), which recommends seven touchpoints spread across the first 6 years. These guidelines recommend screening and assessment to be carried out at each well-baby visit.
Well-baby visits are scheduled checkups that allow the paediatrician to keep track of your child’s overall growth since their last visit. During these visits, your paediatrician will focus on the child’s growth and development, such as monitoring your child’s height and weight. You can also discuss your child’s milestones, learning capabilities, and social behaviours during these visits.
At each visit, your paediatrician will perform a thorough physical examination and update your child’s medical records. These visits also coincide with the vaccination schedule. The doctors will review and update the child’s vaccination records, which will ensure protection against life-threatening infectious diseases. These visits will also prepare parents for the child’s next developmental milestones so that parents can identify and report any delays. The well-baby visits are also an opportunity to review safety strategies for your child such as the use of a car seat and childproofing your home. You can also discuss with the paediatrician on good nutrition habits, sudden illnesses, and how to handle emergencies.
Well-baby visits can build a strong and trustworthy relationship between the parents, paediatrician, and your child. With each visit, you and your child can get more comfortable with the paediatrician, and have a positive experience overall. A good team approach can also help with your child’s mental, physical, and social health.
Well-baby visits will give parents the best opportunity to address their concerns. Whether you are a new parent or parenting an adolescent, you will have a lot of questions and concerns regarding your child’s behaviour, sleep, feeding, and development. Make a list of topics you want to discuss with your paediatrician and speak to them during each visit.
The first official checkup and immunisation will take place immediately after birth at the hospital itself. After this, well-baby visits are scheduled at the following months during the first two years:
The visits are scheduled annually after your child reaches 48 months till 6 years of age. After your child turns 6, they will see their healthcare provider every 1 to 2 years until they are 18 years old. Although these are the guidelines provided by the revised Childhood Developmental Screening (CDS), doctors may change the schedule as required.
The first-week visit is scheduled a few days after your newborn is discharged from the hospital. Your healthcare practitioners will weigh your baby and measure their length and head circumference. They will check the signs for jaundice, listen to your child’s heart and lungs, and do a general health examination. Any screening tests that were not completed at the hospital will be performed at this point.
The well-baby visits will continue till your child turns five years of age, focusing on your child’s eating and sleeping habits, as well as assessing their developmental and language milestones. Each visit will also address your child’s social skills and emotions. Physical examination and measurement of weight, height and head circumference will be performed at every scheduled visit. Compulsory vaccines will be given according to the childhood immunisation schedule.
As your child grows older, new challenges and concerns may be discussed during the visits, in addition to nutrition and screening for any health conditions. Monitoring growth and development is still important, but social and mental health will take precedence. Your paediatrician will give you insights on good sleep practices and exercise schedules that will help your child excel in school. Paediatricians will also play an active role in educating your child about body changes occurring in puberty.
The well-baby visits during the teenage years will now focus on nutrition, development, and behaviour. With the help of the doctor, your child can take the first steps towards being responsible for their health and behaviours. The paediatrician will also spend time with your child to address issues like sexual behaviour, mental health, pressure at school.
The following steps will help you get the most out of your well-baby visits:
Regular well-baby visits are important for the health and development of your child. They provide an opportunity to discuss social behaviours and developmental growth milestones. At SOG, our team of paediatricians are well-equipped to support and guide you and your baby to help maintain the good overall health of your child.