8 week Baby Checks

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The 6–8 week baby check is a comprehensive examination normally performed by a GP in the community. The examination is often undertaken at 8 weeks to coincide with the time of the baby’s first vaccinations. It is important not only for picking up any potential abnormalities but also to address any concerns that the parent/carer may have regarding their child. The 6–8‑week examination is exactly the same as that performed on a newborn baby at hospital, or at home if delivered there. Some abnormalities that were not apparent at 72 hours after birth can become apparent by the time of the 6–8-week check.

The examination essentially entails a top-to-toe examination of the baby. In 2008, the UK National Screening Committee set up national standards for the examination of newborns and infants. This is the NHS newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE) screening programme.1 The screen should be performed within 72 hours of birth and then again at 6–8 weeks. The programme’s main aim is to identify and refer all children born with congenital abnormalities of the eyes, heart, hips, and testes. Any antenatal and postnatal risk factors should also be assessed at each stage of the check. See Figure 1 for the NIPE infant screening pathway.