Neonatal Follow-up Clinic (NFC)
Specialized clinic support for preterm babies and their families, monitor a baby’s developmental milestones, growth and development
At the clinic, a team of specially trained health care professionals provide detailed developmental assessments for infants born preterm or sick.
The purpose of the clinic is to monitor a baby’s developmental milestones assessing their growth and development, to identify their strengths and any difficulties with reaching developmental milestones.
NFC Specialists provide:
information and developmental suggestions to optimize development and if needed
referrals to specialists and community medical and therapy services
early interventions to enable your baby to reach their full potential
The NFC does not replace your child’s primary care provider. It is extremely important that you continue to take your child to the family doctor or pediatrician who provides all routine care and vaccinations for your baby.
Q&A about Neonatal Follow-up
How will I know if my child will be seen by the NFC?
NFC clinics across Canada have different criteria for who they see, this is based on how early your child was born, how big they were at birth, and if they were diagnosed with certain illnesses while in the NICU.
You should check with the team at your NICU to see if your child needs to be seen by the clinic. If your baby is not going to be seen by the NFC, your child’s primary care provider, family doctor/paediatrician, will follow their development and ensure they have the supports they need to grow and develop.
How long will my child be seen by the NFC?
Your baby will generally have about 5 visits over the first 2-3 years. The first visit usually happens around 3-4 months after your due date (i.e. your child’s corrected age).
Visits generally happen at 4, 8, 12, 18, and sometimes 36 months corrected age. Some clinics will have a visit at 6 weeks corrected age, and some will see children into early school age. The schedule may be different depending on where you live.
What is corrected age?
Your premature baby’s development in the first 2-3 years of age is based on and assessed on their corrected age using YOUR ORIGINAL due date - not the date they were born
For example, a 12-month-old baby who was born three months early would have a corrected age of nine months.
Who will we see at our NFC clinic appointments?
The number of people you and your child will meet at your NFC visit depends on the age of your child. As your child gets older and gains more developmental skills, you will meet more specialists.
doctors and nurses
occupational therapists (a healthcare provider that specializes in how your child moves, feeds, and functions in everyday life)
physiotherapists (a healthcare provider that specializes in how your child moves and learns new motor skills)
psychologists (a specialist in your child’s emotional development and behaviour)
audiologists (a specialist in your child’s hearing)
speech and language pathologists (a specialist in your child’s communication and language skills)
dietitians (a specialist in baby and child nutrition)
social workers (a specialist who can provide support for you and your family and help connect you to resources in your community)
note: not all NFUC have all the staff members mentioned above
What happens during a typical NFC clinic appointment?
Depending on on your baby’s corrected age, the assessments include:
gross motor skills (big muscles – how we move, crawl, stand up and walk),
fine motor skills (hand muscles – how we reach, grasp, manipulate, write/print),
communication skills (how we look at somebody, smile, laugh, coo, babble, and talk),
social skills (how we interact with those around us)
hearing and vision
As your child gets older and enters the toddler years, many clinics will begin to assess your child’s developing problem solving, cognitive, and language skills. The most widely used test at this age and up to 3 years is the Bayley Scales of Infant and Child Development.
During the visit, you will also be asked questions about:
how you feel your child is doing, and any concerns or questions you may have.
how you feel you are coping and how is your mental health. The NFUC team can refer you to community supports, as well.
After all assessments are done, the NFC team will provide feedback about your baby's/child's development.
This will include some ideas on what you can do at home to support your child’s development and if needed, discuss with you referrals for developmental community supports for your child. (Physiotherapy, speech, occupational therapy, etc)
A day in the neonatal follow-up clinic
Preparing for Clinic Appointment Day
What can I do to get ready for my baby’s/child clinic appointment?
CPBF has prepared a helpful list to help you on your clinic appointment day:
Make sure your diaper bag has extra diapers and wipes, a change of clothing, snacks, formula, (depending on age) and water, including anything specific to you child, i.e. medicines your child might need in a day
Bring any glasses, hearing aids, or any other aids or devices your child uses, i.e. Special seating, and if on oxygen (O2), bring enough for a long visit
Ask another adult to come with you for support if you feel that is helpful
Dress your child in comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off
Bring any reports or assessments if your child is being seen by a community therapist
Bring any reports about how your child is doing in everyday life, i.e. daycare
If your child is attending preschool/kindergarten, you may want to ask their educators to provide any relevant feedback about your child’s development to discuss with the NFUP team
All reports will help the team better evaluate your child.
You may want to bring videos taken at home of your child’s developmental skills. For example: crawling, rolling, standing, walking, picking up small objects, grasping, babbling, talking etc.
If you were provided a questionnaire before your appointment, you can save time at the clinic by completing this in advance and bringing it with you
Write down any questions and concerns you may have
Your NFC may collect neonatal and developmental information that they can use for the education of healthcare providers. They may also ask for your consent for any research they may do in premature development and medical therapies to help children best reach their full potential.
Our Partner! Canadian Neonatal Follow-up Network (CNFUN)
CPBF is pleased to announce our partnership with the Canadian Neonatal Follow-up Network (CNFUN) on a new initiative to amplify the voices of parents who have had children born preterm.
Learn more by visiting www.cpbf-fbpc.org/cnfun
New! Neonatal Follow-up Infographic
CBPF Infographic to learn more about the Neonatal Follow-up Clinic
This parent education sheet was carefully developed by healthcare experts in the field of neonatal care.
New! Neonatal Follow-up Clinic Journey Pathway
Let's keep track, together!
Keep track of your family's progress by checking the boxes and marking the month and date your appointments are completed!
PDF format 422 KB (1 page)
New! Neonatal Follow-up Clinic Graduation Certificate
Print and personalize!
PDF format 422 KB (1 page)
Position Statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society on neonatal follow-up of babies born extremely preterm: