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For most new parents, baby’s first year is usually a whirlwind of nappies, sleepless nights, and worry. But adding a pandemic into the mix has understandably heightened anxiety for many.
Baby check-ups provide the perfect opportunity to discuss any concerns with a health professional. At YourGP, we ensure these appointments are relaxed and unrushed, with ample time to complete thorough physical checks of the baby and provide support for the mother.
For those yet to attend, we asked YourGP’s latest addition, Dr Harwell, to talk us through the basics of baby check-ups, as well as address some of the most common questions regarding the effects of the pandemic on those born during Lockdown.
Firstly, what experience do you have in child healthcare?
As part of my GP training, I rotated through A&E at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, and was exposed to a wide range of paediatric presentations. I have continued to gain experience in this field by doing out of hours GP shifts in paediatrics.
Why are baby check-ups so important?
Baby check-ups provide a crucial opportunity to cover a complete physical check of the newborn, plus check in with the new mother too. The consultation is also a chance to discuss other concerns, such as breastfeeding problems, postnatal depression, or sleep issues.
What happens during a typical check-up?
Your baby will be examined physically. This includes your baby’s eyes, heart, hips, and testicles (for boys). They will be weighed and their length and head circumference measured, plus there will be a discussion about vaccinations. There will also be a review of the mother – covering how she has been doing physically and emotionally since the birth of her baby.
What are the most common issues or parent worries you deal with?
Often there is a range of questions about ‘what is normal’ for their baby. It helps to have a thorough physical examination, to pick up any concerns early, and manage these as appropriate.
Are you able to provide face-to-face check-ups at YourGP?
Yes, we are now offering face-to-face baby check-up appointments at YourGP. Rest assured, our doctors are fully vaccinated and wearing PPE.
Do you also offer video call check-ups for those unable to attend the practice?
Yes, video calls are available if preferred for certain consultations. However, the recommendation for the 6-8 week check-up is a face-to-face physical examination of the baby.
Do you have any advice for parents of babies born during the pandemic?
Where possible, arrange childcare – even if just for a few hours a week, to allow yourself some time oﬀ. Remember, you are doing the best you can in an unheralded situation, even if the best you can do is to get you and your children through the day.
Do you think the pandemic will have a lasting effect on babies?
Having had a baby myself just before the pandemic, I have noticed two things. First, babies are extremely resilient and can ﬂourish in diﬀerent situations. But also, it does take a village to raise a child, and exposing them to diﬀerent people and social situations is important for their development. I don’t think babies will be impacted long-term by the pandemic, but as a mother I never want to be isolated with a baby again!
Doctors and reception staff are always incredibly accommodating and polite. Can’t recommend enough!