Definition and Overview
A 6-month well-baby checkup is a part of a series of consultations conducted by a pediatrician to ascertain the baby’s health and monitor his or her progress.
At six months, the baby is expected to eat more solid foods as the first milk teeth begin to erupt and be more responsive to the people around him. He may express more specific emotions through laughing, squealing, or giggling or feel anxious when surrounded by strangers. It’s normal for babies this age to react when called by their name and explore further by looking themselves in the mirror, being more observant of objects around them, and putting small objects in their mouth.
Six-month-old babies may not be able to stand properly yet, but they can already sit upright with no support and roll over in different directions. As far as communication is concerned, they may already start pronouncing vowel strings and respond to sounds around them. They may also have better eye contact and interaction with other children and babies.
Despite the many wonderful developments, these babies may still be prone to different health issues including physiological, psychological, and social development delays. This is one of the major concerns of well-baby checkups that start within a week the baby is born and continue until he or she is three years old.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
There’s no definite rule on how often babies should see their pediatricians especially before they reach a year old. However, most pediatricians recommend a checkup in certain ages, starting at 3 to 7 days.
A checkup becomes more important in cases where there are deviations in the baby’s growth and development, as well as behavior. Such as:
- Inability to pronounce vowel strings
- Do not maintain eye contact or are less responsive or interactive than other babies their age.
- Poor ability to roll or crawl
- Show very little emotion except crying
- Their muscles are either softer or stiffer than those of other babies
A well-baby checkup may also be necessary if a disease is detected, or the child is born with a congenital defect. Although the appearance of signs and symptoms don’t always require a checkup, a visit is highly advised if these symptoms do not disappear after a few days or after treatment is provided.
The consultation is also a good time to catch up on vaccination. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) suggests that babies around six months old must already have the following vaccines: RV (rotavirus), DTaP (diphtheria), Hib (hepatitis B), PCV (pneumococcal), and IPV (inactivated polio virus). This is also the age to begin receiving the flu vaccine, which is provided in two doses that are spaced four weeks apart.
How Does the Procedure Work?
Well-baby checkups are conducted based on the guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which aims to effectively monitor a child’s social, psychological, and cognitive development.
During the actual checkup, the parent is asked to fill out a form to provide the pediatrician crucial details about the baby’s sleep and eating habits, bowel movements, teething, and motor skills, among others.
They baby will then be weighed and his temperature and height will be measured. At this point, the parents may be asked some questions such as whether there are any health concerns including signs and symptoms, such as fever.
The pediatrician will then:
- Conduct more physical tests to check different organs including the heart, limbs, eyes, nose, and ears
- Administer vaccinations or update immunization
- Request for more tests when necessary such as stool or urine analysis
- Ask for any concerns about teething, breastfeeding, or motor skills
The pediatrician can also take the time to give more tips about safety and overall baby’s health. He may also refer the baby and the parents to other specialists if the situation calls for it.
Possible Risks and Complications
A six-month well-baby checkup is a routine procedure that is 100% safe for the baby. However, if certain treatment or vaccinations are provided, parents may notice swelling in the injected site and low-grade fever that should be resolved within 24-48 hours without treatment.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics