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Newborn and Infant Care

Newborn and Infant Care Information

Congratulations on your new baby! As your child grows from a newborn to an infant, many changes will occur. Whether you are a first time parent or have been down this road before, you want to make sure your child is healthy and happy.

Your Child's Development

Milestones are developmental events that occur in a predictable order. Since each child is different, milestones occur at slightly different ages for each child, but always in the same order. Parents play an important role in helping their child reach each milestone. During the first year, here are some things to look for and activities to help your child to master new skills:

At Birth

Your baby

You help your baby when you

At 2 Months

Your baby

You help your baby when you

At 4 Months

Your baby

You help your baby when you

At 6 Months

Your baby

You help your baby when you

At 9 Months

Your baby

You help your baby when you

At 1 Year

Your baby

You help your baby when you

Your Child's Immunizations

One of the most important ways to keep your child healthy is to make sure your baby gets vaccinations or "shots" on time during the first two years of life. Vaccinations the baby needs include:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy color-coded schedule that gives time periods for your child's vaccinations.

Other Tests for Your Child

Newborns are required to have several tests done prior to leaving the hospital for the first time. Each state has different requirements. For example, according to the Ohio Department of Health's Help Me Grow Program, there are 30 different disorders that newborns are screened for at birth, including sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. Your health care professional will tell you the test results by the two-month well child visit. If any of the tests are positive or the results unclear, the Ohio Department of Health will contact you as soon as possible. To learn more, visit the Help Me Grow website.

Your child may need blood lead testing if you live in an older home or have other risk factors. At 9-12 months, most children have their hemoglobin level tested to make sure there is no anemia. If you live in an area that is considered high risk for tuberculosis or if a family member has the disease, your child will need testing. Hearing and vision screening may be requested by your healthcare provider based on your child's physical examination, family history, medical conditions, or your concerns.

Keep Up with Check-ups!

Make sure to keep up with your child's check-ups and inform your child's pediatric health care professional if you notice any changes in your child's appetite, behavior, appearance, or sleeping patterns. By establishing a good relationship with your pediatric healthcare provider, you can work together to keep your child happy and healthy!



Pocket Guide to Good Health For Children (AHRQ)

Burns, C.E., Dunn, A.M., Brady, M.A., Starr, N.B., & Blosser, C.G. (2004). Pediatric primary care: A handbook for nurse practitioners.

Graham, M.A. & Uphold, C.R. (2003). Clinical guidelines in child health (3rd ed.). Gainesville, FL: Barmarrae Books.

Green, M. & Palfrey, J.S. (2002). Bright futures: Guidelines for health supervision of infants, children, and adolescents. (2nd ed. rev.). Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.

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Last Reviewed: Sep 20, 2007

Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati