Everything you need to know about the 6 week baby check

6 week baby check

by Lorna White |

During those first precious few months of their lives, your baby will be monitored and checked on a regular basis to make sure they’re developing as they should be.

Not to be confused with your 6-week postnatal check up to check your health after giving birth, your baby’s 6 week baby check or development review will be offered to you by the NHS between the 6 and 8 week mark.

Your baby may be checked at the same appointment as you, or they will have their own completely separate appointment, dedicated to them. Their health check may also take place when they get their first vaccinations. It will depend on your GP surgery, health clinic or hospital and how they like to do things.

What will happen at my baby’s 6 week check? 

There’s a few tests you can expect your baby to take at this check up, so it’s a good idea to prepare for what might happen. Also, don’t forget to bring along your baby’s Child Health Record Book (the red book) so that all their results can be recorded.

Physical checks on your baby

Your baby will have been physically checked during the first 72 hours of their lives and many of these checks will then be repeated at their 6 week check.

  • Heart and lung sounds

  • Feet, spine and hips

  • Mouth and palate

  • Head circumference and length

  • Fontanelle (soft spots on the head)

  • Ears and eyes

  • Reflexes

  • Groin pulses

  • Abdominal organs and belly button

  • Genitals (in boys to make sure the testicles have descended)

Your healthcare professional should talk you through all the tests they are doing, explaining what they are for and why. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions if you’re not sure what they’re examining and checking for.

Weighing and measuring

They may want to weigh your baby, and to get the most accurate result, you’ll be required to undress your baby (including their nappy) to get a precise weight.

Any results will be plotted on the centile charts which can be found in the Personal Child Health Record.

Hearing tests

Your baby should have already had their hearing check at around 4-5 weeks old and it should happen no later than the 5 week mark.

If you’ve still not had this check, it’s important to ask for this now.

Responses

Your health professional will want to know more about the way your baby responds to things, so may ask you questions about how often your baby smiles at you or follows you with their eyes to better assess their development.

What if something is wrong?

If there’s any cause for concern, your health professional will let you know and may book further appointments or tests to get to the bottom of things.

If all the test results are healthy and your baby is developing as they should be, you won’t be called back for another appointment until your baby is around 1 year-old.

They’ll then be invited for another health check between 2 and 2 and-a-half-years then again before they start school.

Although these are when the standard health checks will take place, you should always contact your GP or health care visitor if you’re ever concerned about your health or your child’s health in the early years of their life.

Remember this isn’t just physical health concerns either. Having a baby can seriously take its toll on your mental health too, so it’s always really important to talk to your health visitor about any worries you may have around your own mental health.

Where will these checks take place?

Depending on your local area, the review may take place at your home or at a GP surgery, baby clinic or children's centre.

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