Your baby is three quarters of a year old, which means it’s time to head back to the pediatrician’s office for the 9-month check-up. There are a few aspects of this checkup that will feel familiar, including:
- Measuring your baby’s head circumference, length, and weight. Your doctor will review these measurements and compare them to a growth chart for babies at nine months to make sure your baby is within the typical range.
- Conducting a physical exam of your child. This will include listening to your baby’s heart and lungs, watching eye movements, examining hip movements, and watching how he or she moves, such as sitting up and grasping objects.
- Talking about your baby’s habits. Your pediatrician will likely ask for updates on eating, sleeping, and diapers.
- Discussing milestones you may have noted that are typical for a 9 month old baby.
Remember that your child’s doctor will want to look at every part of your baby’s skin, so it’s wise to put him or her in an outfit that’s easy to take on and off, as well as taking along a few clean diapers for weighing and measuring purposes.
In addition to the typical checks, you may notice your baby’s pediatrician is focusing on some new things. For example, the careful skin exam at this age is helpful to detect anemia. The risk for anemia increases from ages 9 to 24 months, which is usually diet-related, so your doctor may also check hemoglobin levels.
Each doctor’s office may have a slightly different schedule of immunizations, but most pediatricians adhere to the recommended schedules. Always feel free to ask your doctor if you have concerns about immunizations, which are crucial in preventing dreaded diseases of childhood.
If flu season is upon you (or you’re right in the middle of it and your little one hasn’t received a flu shot yet), your child’s pediatrician will likely recommend the flu vaccine. This first dose of flu vaccine will require a booster at least 28 days after the first dose.
Questions to ask
Any checkup is an excellent opportunity to ask your baby’s doctor questions about development, eating, sleeping, etc. If your baby has been sick since the last time you came in for a checkup, you may want to discuss any illnesses. Also, if you have concerns about your baby’s physical, emotional, and/or cognitive development, now is the time to determine the norms for your baby.
After the 9-month check up, your doctor will typically have you schedule a 12-month appointment. Since it will be three months before you go back again, it’s really important to have any questions answered. You may want to keep a notebook of questions so you can make sure you don’t forget them when you are with the doctor!