Baby Basics

What Happens At Baby’s 12-Month Checkup?

Baby’s 12-month checkup is coming up. What questions, procedures and immunizations should I expect?  

You’ve made it to one year! This milestone calls for exciting, toddler things like real milk and sippy cups, and it also means a checkup with another round of immunizations, says Preeti Parikh, MD. Here’s what else:

Questions the doctor will ask

• Is baby crawling, walking and pulling himself up? (It’s completely okay if he’s not walking yet.)

• Has baby made the transition to solids?

• How many teeth does baby have? (It could be anywhere from zero to eight.)

• How are baby’s motor skills? Does he use both hands to pick things up?

• Does baby follow moving objects with his eyes?

• What is baby saying? It should be at least one word beyond “mama” and “dada.”
 
Procedures the doctor will do

Weight check. The doctor or nurse will measure and weigh baby and plot weight, height, and head circumference on a growth chart that indicates the average height and weight for boys and girls. Baby should stay within the same percentile range from checkup to checkup. 

Physical. The doctor will check baby’s heart, lungs, genitals, reflexes, joints, eyes, ears and mouth. She’ll also check the shape of baby’s head and check his soft spots (fontanels) to make sure they’re developing properly.

Blood test. Baby’s blood will be screened for anemia and checked for lead. 

Vaccines baby may get

• MMR
• Chickenpox
• Hepatitis A (But it can also wait until 15 months.)
 
Recommendations the doctor will make

• Introduce real milk, but no more than 24 ounces per day, since most calories should be coming from solids. Some babies don’t really like regular milk, so yogurt and cheese are good alternatives.

• Let baby play and feed himself with cereal to work on fine motor skills.

• Look baby in the eyes while you’re talking to work on communication development.

• Wean him off the bottle and on to sippy cups. Parikh says cups with straws are best for mouth development.

• Start weaning baby off of the pacifier. Start by taking it away during naps.

• Keep brushing baby’s new teeth.

Expert: Preeti Parikh, MD, is a pediatrician in New York City and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

By Anisa Arsenault