Baby checkups with your pediatrician

Everything you need to know about visiting the doctor with your child

It's every parent's priority to make sure their children are healthy. This is why it is important to form a close relationship with the family pediatrician after the birth of a baby. Your pediatrician will answer all your questions and provide tips and information on how to keep your baby healthy, as well as supervise his or her development.

To allow your pediatrician to keep a close eye on your child's general health and development, it's important for your child to have regularly scheduled checkups. These are often called well-child visits.

During the first two years of life, these checkups are more frequent because your baby is growing fast, and any developmental issues or complications can be detected early.

After the age of two, checkups are scheduled approximately every two to three years, until the child reaches the age of 14.

As with vaccination calendars, the Social Security calendar for doctor checkups varies with each autonomous community, although they do follow similar criteria with regards health assessment. You will find the checkup schedule at your local healthcare center.

Your child's checkup from 0 to 2 years

For the first two years, checkups focus especially on your baby's psychomotor development (for example, when he starts to turn his head, to pick up objects, etc.), the prevention of contagious or congenital infections and the relationship between parents and baby.

At every checkup, the pediatrician measures and weighs the baby and checks the head circumference to calculate the growth curve, which indicates whether he is meeting his development milestones.

When you have been discharged from hospital after having given birth, your first appointment with the pediatrician should be the first week, in order to meet the doctor and open a clinical record. This will include all your delivery details, family history of illness, the results of tests carried out in the hospital and the type of feeding (breastfeeding, natural or artificial).

During this first visit, the pediatrician will also give you advice and useful tips on how to ensure the health of your baby and your family.

The second checkup will take place at the first month. As well as weighing and measuring the baby, the pediatrician will carry out a physical checkup to check the baby's neurological and psychomotor development is on track. In particular, they will examine the fontanelle (more commonly known as the soft spot), the eyes and the ears to rule out any problems.

The third checkup will be scheduled at two months old. During this visit, the baby will receive the necessary vaccinations according to the schedule of each autonomous region. The pediatrician will give the baby another exhaustive checkup, they will weigh and measure the baby and check the reflexes.

The next checkups will be carried out at 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15 months and 18 months, usually coinciding with the vaccination schedule. During these checkups, the doctor will compare the baby's measurements with the growth curve, and check that their hearing, eyesight and reflexes are developing correctly and that their psychomotor development is on track.

The World Health Organization and the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommend feeding the baby exclusively with breast milk on demand for the first six months, and keep this up while introducing other food until the age of two. When the baby starts with complementary foods, after the age of six months, your pediatrician will give you guidelines on how to introduce new foods.

Checkups at 2 and 5 years

During this time, checkups are usually at the age of 2 and 4. At this stage, as well as keeping up with the vaccinations schedule, the aim of the checkups will be to:

  • Check for any physical or language problems. At this age, your pediatrician will focus carefully on language capacity and pronunciation. If any difficulty is detected, the baby will be referred to a speech therapist.
  • Check for any sensorial defects, alterations in vision, hearing, touch and smell.
  • Check basic health and hygiene habits.

Checkups from 6 to 14 years old

It is important during these years to establish proper feeding, hygiene, behavioral and sleep habits, before the onset of adolescence. Children should get checkups with the pediatrician every two to three years.

At the age of 6 years, vaccinations are given according to the vaccination schedule. At this age, the checkup will focus on visual acuity, psychomotor development, language development and eating habits.

From 8 to 9 years old, a more general checkup will be made, where the doctor may check the blood pressure and perform a cardiopulmonary auscultation. The doctor will offer advice on a healthy diet and lifestyle. It may be a good time to introduce sexual education, explain menstruation and clear up any doubts the child may have.

Another vaccination is due at 12 years old. At this age, a thorough physical examination will take place to assess the child's growth and the onset of puberty, with special attention given to the locomotive system and dental health. The doctor will also ask the child about his social and leisure habits to assess the possibility of any social or mental risks.

The last checkup by a pediatrian is usually at the age of 14, in which a thorough physical examination will take place to assess the general development of the child and their sexual maturity. Vaccinations will be given according to the schedule.

Private family health insurance

All pediatric medical checkups required can be done through the Social Security, or through Private Medical Insurance.

  • In the case of private insurance, you do not need to go to a general pediatrician to get an appointment with a specialist.
  • Many health insurance policies include access to a 24-hour health information helpline where you will receive free advice and reassurance.
  • Private insurance also offers other complementary services related to your child's development: speech therapist, psychologist, etc.