Kids' Health

How To Prepare For Your Kid’s 12-Month Checkup

"Are they supposed to be this strange?"

Originally Published: 
baby at pediatrician's
flickr / Alex Proimos

Congratulations! You can now add “child” to the list of things that you’ve kept alive for at least a year. And that accomplishment is far greater than the rest of the things on that list, including goldfish, plants and a love of dabbin’ despite the fact that it’s so over and you’re basically just embarrassing yourself now.

Now that your kid is a year old, it’s time to take them to their 12-month checkup. But instead of walking into the pediatrician’s office ready to dab the second the doc tells you your kid is perfect, why not prepare yourself (and your kid, frankly) for what to expect.

The Growth Inquiry

The first thing your doc will want to do is see how your critter is growing. This won’t be new to any of you, but 12 months is a nice place to see where your kid stacks up on the growth charts.

For boys, your medical pro will be looking for a weight between 19 and 28 pounds, and a height between 28 and 32 inches. A girls normal range will be a bit smaller, so the doc will be looking for a weight between 17 and 26 pounds and a height of 27 to 31 inches. They’ll also measure your kid’s noggin. Just to make sure their head isn’t getting as big as yours every time you think about what an amazing father you are.

Along with this, there will be a full physical exam to make sure all of your kid’s parts are where they’re supposed to be and doing what they’re supposed to do.

The Shots

This is one of those unfortunate instances where your kid might be treated like a pincushion. You can expect several vaccines on this visit, but there are ways to reduce the pain. Ask your doc about the possibility of using the topical anesthetic cream called EMLA. If you pair it with a pacifier dipped in sugar water and some good ol’ distraction, things are likely to go much better for everyone.

Here are the shots recommended for the 12-month visit, if they haven’t already been received:

Final Doses

  • Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
  • Hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine
  • Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)


  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)

First Doses

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Hepatitis A (HepA)


  • Influenza (flu)

Development Check

Your doc will be interested to know if your kid is coming along alright in developmental areas too. But keep in mind that developmental milestones are constantly moving targets. Some kids get there sooner than others. There’s no need to freak out about this stuff.

At 12-months your kid should:

  • Pull up to standing, cruise, or maybe even walk
  • Eat more solid foods
  • Have about 8 teeth or so
  • Know at least one word besides mamma and dadda (extra points if that word is fart)
  • Point to things they want
  • Know their name when you call it
  • Pick things up with fingers
  • Play peekaboo (because backgammon is too complicated)

How To Prepare

You’ll want to bring all the pertinent information that can help your doc. So make sure you’re ready to talk about any major illness that have occurred since the last visit, and any major changes in child care or home life.

Also, make sure you talk with any of your kid’s caregivers before the visit too. They’ll have info on all the stuff you don’t see during the day. And their observations or concerns might prompt you to think about questions to ask your doc, like “should my kid’s hand turkey look this deranged?”

And speaking of questions, keep a list out for the month prior to the checkup. Jot down things that occur to you as they come up. Things you might want to know about include the proper dosing of OTC pain relievers based on current weight, how to help them be good solid eaters, and anything related to the fact that they seem to bonk their heads all the time right now.

With good prep you’ll be well on your way to keeping your kid alive for another year. Which would probably be one year longer than most of the plants you’ve tried to care for. RIP, Phil the philodendron.

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