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6-8 week health review

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We explain the checks that are carried out during your baby's 6-8 week review

From the time he's born your baby will be offered a number of health checks, designed to monitor your child's health and development.

The first health check is normally within 72 hours of the birth which is followed by a further check at between six and eight weeks of age.

Your baby may be examined at the same appointment as your own postnatal check or when he has his first immunisations. Alternatively, your baby may be seen at a completely separate appointment, it depends on the health care programme that's in place in the area where you live.

Hearing tests

By 4-5 weeks old, your baby's hearing should have been checked. Sometimes this happens before you leave hospital, otherwise the test should be given no later than five weeks after the birth.

If for any reason your baby hasn't had a hearing test you should ask for an appointment for one now.

Physical checks

Your baby will have been given a complete physical check during his first 72 hours. Many of these checks are repeated again now to make sure that all is well with your baby's development.

Your healthcare professional will explain what the checks are for and will tell you if there is any cause for concern. Your baby will have the following checked:

  • head circumference and length
  • fontanelle (soft spots on the head)
  • mouth and palate
  • heart and pulses
  • lungs
  • abdominal organs
  • genitals (in boys to make sure the testicles have descended)
  • feet, spine and hips
  • ears and eyes

Weighing and measuring

If your doctor or nurse wants to weigh your baby you will be asked to remove all his clothing, including his nappy so that he can be accurately weighed on special scales.

Your baby's head circumference will also be measured using a thin metal or plastic tape. The results of all these measurements should be recorded and plotted on the appropriate centile charts of your child’s health record.

General responses

You will be asked questions about your baby's behaviour - your health professional will want to know whether your baby smiles at you and if he watches you and follows you with his eyes.

Your answers to these and other similar questions will be a useful guide to your baby's development.

Safety in the home

Your health professional will also discuss some of the things you need to know about safety in the home.

Further checks

Unless a problem has been identified which means that you need to attend more frequent checks, your baby's next health check will be around his first birthday.

He will be offered a further check at between two and two-an-a-half years and again at around the time he starts school.

Your doctor may ask to go to see her.. You should visit your doctor or paediatrician for help and support for the first five years of your child's life and he should be able to advise you on issues such as healthy eating, childcare options, coping with temper tantrums and dealing with everyday difficulties such as teething and not sleeping.

If you have concerns about your baby at any time you should always contact your doctor.

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