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Medical Care and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old
Well-Child and Other Visits
As your baby becomes more independent and mobile, your questions for your doctor may focus more on bumps, bruises, and behavior than anything else.
Your doctor will see a baby twice for routine well baby visits during this period, once at 9 months and again at 12 months.
If your baby has missed any immunizations, or if there's a problem that needs special attention, other visits may be scheduled.
What to Expect at the Doctor's Office
The well-baby visits at 9 and 12 months are much like previous exams, but your discussions with your doctor about behavior and habits may happen more often.
Your baby's check up will include:
- Measurement of your baby's length, weight, and head circumference. Growth will be plotted on the growth chart and you will be advised of your little one's progress.
- A physical exam.
- A review of your baby's development through both observation and your report: Can your baby get into a sitting position alone? Pull up on things to stand? Pick up small objects? Say mama and dada? Enjoy games like peek-a-boo? Your doctor may ask you these questions and others.
- You may be asked how you're doing with your baby and how the rest of the family is doing. Your doctor may review safety with you: Have you babyproofed your home? Is your baby in an appropriate car seat while in the car?
- A discussion of eating habits: Is your baby eating more table foods? Interested in finger foods on the tray of the highchair? Able to use a cup? Being weaned from the breast or bottle? Most doctors advise a switch from bottle to cup between 12 and 18 months.
- Advice on what to expect in the coming months.
- At some visits, immunizations.
At the 12-month visit, the doctor may recommend a blood test to check for anemia and lead poisoning. Sometimes. babies at about age 1 get a tuberculin skin test, depending on where they live and their potential risk of tuberculosis. Parents will get instructions on how to monitor the test and when to return to the office so the nurse or doctor can check the test results.
Bring up any questions or concerns you have. Write down any specific instructions your doctor gives you about special baby care. Keep updating your child's medical record, listing information on growth and any problems or illnesses.
Which Vaccines Will My Baby Get?
Vaccines recommended may include:
- the first measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, given between 12–15 months of age
- the first chickenpox (varicella) vaccine, given between 12–15 months of age
- the fourth pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), given between 12–15 months of age
- the third or fourth Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type B) vaccine given between 12–15 months of age, depending on the type of vaccine used
- the first hepatitis A (HepA) vaccine, which may be given at 12 months of age or older
Your baby also may get:
- the third hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, which can be given at any time during 6–18 months of age
- the third polio vaccine (IPV), which can be given at any time during 6–18 months of age
- the flu vaccine (given every year)
- the meningococcal vaccine for children at risk of developing meningococcal disease, which can lead to bacterial meningitis and other serious conditions
- a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot
This immunization schedule can vary depending on what combined vaccines your doctor uses.
At this age, developmental delays may cause concern. Babies follow their own timetable for crawling, talking, and walking. Keep that in mind when checking for signs of developmental progress by the first birthday. At the 9-month visit, the doctor will give your child a screening test to help identify any delays.
By 12 months, most babies:
- have said their first single word (mama, dada)
- use gestures (wave bye-bye, shake head no)
- respond to familiar pictures or toys
- stand when supported and pull up on things to stand
Your baby is probably hearing "no" a lot these days while exploring boundaries. Soon, you'll hear that word back from your little one! Be consistent but loving while teaching the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your baby's development.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
You should feel comfortable enough with your doctor to call with questions and concerns that can't wait until the next scheduled visit. If your questions can wait, write them down so you don't forget them.
Call the doctor if your baby has a fever, is acting sick, is refusing food or drink, is vomiting, or has diarrhea. Always call if you think that something is wrong — you know your baby best.