Your baby's primary health-care team

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead.

Read about a baby's primary health-care team: the family physician or paediatrician, and other health-care providers such as the dentist and audiologist.

Key points

  • When your baby is born you will need to decide whether they will be taken care of going forward by a paediatrician or by a family doctor.
  • As your baby gets older they may need to see other health-care professionals including a dentist, optometrist and an audiologist.

When your baby is first born, either a family physician or a paediatrician will assess them to make sure they are in good health. After discharge from the hospital, your baby will need to see either a family physician or a paediatrician to ensure that they stay healthy. If health concerns do arise, these professionals are available to help your baby through their challenges, or they may refer them to more specialized health-care providers.

Family physician

Family physicians provide care for the entire family, and therefore can serve as your baby's physician when the time comes. Family physicians provide well-baby checks, physicals, immunizations, diagnosis and treatment of health concerns, and advice. If your family physician was your health-care provider during pregnancy and childbirth, they will also do your check-up a few weeks after childbirth.

Paediatrician

This is a medical doctor who specializes in the development of children and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting children. Paediatricians provide well-baby visits, physicals, immunizations, and address health concerns. Some paediatricians specialize in specific types of diseases and disorders.

Other members of the family's health-care team

As your baby gets older, they will need to see other health care professionals to make sure that their teeth, eyes, and ears are developing normally.

Dentist

This is a professional who is qualified to prevent and treat conditions that affect the teeth, mouth, and jaws. The dentist will check for cavities and other dental problems, run X-rays, and keep those teeth bright and white. Dentists and hygienists can also show your children how to care for their teeth. Children should have their first dental appointment before their first birthday, and every six months afterwards.

Optometrist

This is a health-care provider specializing in measuring eyesight, detecting eye disease, and prescribing corrective eyewear. However, usually in your baby's first year, they will only need to see their physician at regular check-ups for vision assessments. Children should see an optometrist at age three, age five, and every two years afterward.

Audiologist

This is a health professional who focuses on the science of hearing. An audiologist performs diagnostic testing and rehabilitation of impaired hearing when it cannot be repaired by surgery. An audiologist may prescribe a hearing aid for your child if they need it. Many schools request that children see an audiologist before they start school, to rule out any hearing problems.

Last updated: October 18th 2009