Most people can remember when they first took their child home from the hospital. With a mixture of excitement and uncertainty, you did everything you could to take the best care of them and ensure that no harm would ever come to them.
One thing that many new parents learned during this time was how important a baby’s growth is and what it means about their health and development. From there, every doctor’s or nurse’s visit would be about checking in with your little one to see how much they’d grown and what they now weighed.
Rather than having to wait for these appointments, many parents are now keeping an eye on their baby and children’s growth at home. When doing this though, it’s important to know the facts and recommendations about growth and what they mean, and never to rely on them as a sole diagnostic tool.
Baby Growth Charts
Back in the day, there was no real way to know what was considered normal and not when it came to growth. Since 1977 there was a huge change in how we determine the development of children, and that is to rely on set guidelines.
These give us an idea of how much children should be growing and what they weigh and measure when compared to others in their age group.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention rely on guidelines set by the World Health Organization in regards to these figures and offer them in a baby growth chart. These charts are made up from a number of percentile curves and can show you exactly what is expected at certain age groups based on their starting weight and height.
Though the charts are never supposed to be used as a final word in health nor are they a diagnostic tool, they help health professionals and parents understand how a child might be tracking.
Therefore, determining normal baby growth is not absolute and will depend on a number of factors. These charts merely show how a child from the US should be growing when raised in optimal settings.
What Is Normal Baby Growth?
A baby’s growth depends on so many things which is why it’s difficult to give a definitive answer on just one figure. A healthy infant can be born in a range with a couple of pounds different and so there’s no exact number that indicates health and development.
Once born, an infant might grow around ½ an inch to a full inch each month. In terms of weight, they will gain around five to seven ounces a week. Your doctor or midwife should tell you that their weight should double from birth to around five months, so this is a general standard you can go by.
When they’re a little older, the growth slows somewhat to 3/8 inch a month. Their weight gain will now be around three to five ounces a week. By the time they have their first birthday, they may have tripled their birth weight.
Checking Your Baby’s Growth At Home
Usually, parents must wait for their baby’s next health appointment or check up to get an idea about their growth. The wait between these appointments can be lengthy and if you’re concerned about your child you’ll want a way to do it yourself.
You could attempt to weigh your child on a normal scale but due to their inability to stand alone and the smaller weights of babies, it doesn’t work as well. Therefore, investing in a baby scale is a good option. There are some models available that measure height as well, so you can do it all in one sitting.
The best way to know how your baby’s growth is doing is to refer to the charts provided by CDC and WHO for children in your country. You can look at their age and see what percentile they are in when compared to others, and if you think there’s cause for concern you’ll want to speak to a professional.
Another reason why tracking your baby’s measurements at home is helpful is due to the early stages where weight gain is needed. In the first few weeks when mothers are breastfeeding, it’s hard to tell how much milk their child is getting. A simple baby scale can solve this problem and give peace of mind to already stressed parents.
When To See Your Doctor
Parenting can be challenging at the best of times, and when it comes to our baby’s health we don’t want to take any chances. If you suspect that your child isn’t hitting the growth milestones that others might be, there’s no harm in taking them to the doctor and having a health professional look over them.
If you’re weighing your child and home and notice that they haven’t gained anything or that they fall far below or above what’s recommended, getting the advice from a doctor can be helpful. This is why having your own set of baby scales could be useful, especially in the first couple of years when this growth is so important.
Keeping Track Of Our Most Precious Gifts
There’s nothing quite like being a parent, and when you have a small baby at home it’s a mixture of emotions. With everything else that’s on your plate from the crying to feeding and nighttime waking, you really don’t need to worry yourself about whether or not they’re gaining enough weight.
Investing in a quality baby scale can solve this problem and give you that extra peace of mind that could be so handy in the first couple of years. With your own scale, you’ll be able to refer back to the World Health Organization growth charts to see how they’re doing and give yourself more time to spend loving them instead.