Parenthood brings many worries and one of these, is where your baby measures on the baby growth chart.
Luckily, in most situations, children grow at their own pace and develop according to their own predetermined body composition.
Mothers who are breastfeeding often have even more anxiety about the growth of their babies than their formula-feeding counterparts. This is because, when breastfeeding, it is harder to tell exactly how much milk your child is taking in.
There are parents on both side of the spectrum who worry that their child is putting on too much or not enough weight, but there is a broad range of normal on the baby growth curve.
It is important to remember when comparing your child’s growth to a growth chart, that these charts are often developed for formula-fed babies, and breastfed babies usually average into different baby growth percentiles.
A baby growth percentile simply tells you in an average sample of 100 children, where your child fits in. Breastfed babies often gain weight faster than formula-fed babies in the first few months and then taper off after the first year. Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?
A baby growth chart can be a great way to keep an eye on your child’s development, but as long as your baby doubles his or her birth weight by six months and triples it by one year, there is no reason to worry. It is important to remember those premature babies often put on weight slower than full-term infants, and there is a particular premature baby growth chart that parents can use in those situations.
Weight is not the only thing that is shown on baby growth charts. Height and baby's head growth is also checked and compared at each well-child visit. While height is not normally watched as closely as weight, keeping track can give reassurance if the growth of the baby does not match the average growth of a baby on the chart. If the baby growth calculator shows that the child is larger or smaller than average, but his weight and height are proportional, the parents can put their worries to rest.
While a baby growth chart seems to indicate that a child grows at a nice even pace, most children have periods where they grow quickly in a short amount of time.
Parents also need to be aware of baby growth spurts.
If your well-child visit is before or after a growth spurt, it may look like your baby has gained a lot, or not enough, since the last visit. As long as your child’s growth is stable over the long term, this is not a cause for concern. As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your baby’s growth patterns, ask your pediatrician. That’s what they are there for.
About the Author: Katelynne Shepard is a graduate of Kent State University with a BA in English and Writing. She and her daughters live in Ohio where she works from home. She enjoyed breastfeeding her first child to 22 months and is still going at 14 months with the second.