Although you are your baby's day-to-day caregiver, you still have a strong partnership with the pediatrician. In baby's first year you should have six well-baby visits; these are trips to see the doctor other than when baby isn't feeling well, just to be sure everything is developing appropriately. This is also when your doctor will give baby those all-important immunization shots.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the first visit be when baby is between two and four weeks old. Baby should then see the doctor at age two months, four months, six months, nine months, and at the first birthday. The pediatrician may request more frequent visits if you had a preemie or a baby born with jaundice.
It's at these visits that baby will be weighed and measured, and you'll be given a percentile—for instance, your baby may be in the 70th percentile for height and 60th for weight. This indicates about how many babies are taller (30 percent) and how many weigh more (40 percent) then yours, but in general, which percentile your baby falls in isn't very important—your pediatrician is telling you these numbers so you can be sure baby is growing at a steady rate. (If a baby starts out in the 60th percentile for weight but then falls to the 30th at the next visit, that could indicate a problem, as would a sudden leap to the 90th percentile.)
In addition to giving baby shots and checking growth and development, your pediatrician should use these visits to talk to you about a wide range of baby-care topics. At the first visit you should discuss breastfeeding or bottlefeeding and how feedings in general are going; you should also talk about how to look for signs that baby isn't feeling well. At two months you should talk about baby's sleep patterns; at four months introducing solid foods. In the second half of baby's year you can expect to talk about major milestones such as standing, walking, and self-feeding, as well as babyproofing and the importance of reading to and playing with baby.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.