Understanding Baby Growth Charts

UNDERSTANDING BABY GROWTH CHARTS


Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs, but it can be one of the most difficult.

Many new parents worry about their babies’ growth and development. However, there are practical ways to deal with these challenges.

If you’re one of the new parents worried about their child’s growth and development, this blog will help you understand more about a child’s development. 

Newborn babies come in all shapes and sizes, and all babies grow at their own pace. At your first paediatrician visit, the healthcare provider will plot and explain your child’s growth on a baby growth chart to make sure he/she is on track. 

The chart might look overwhelming, but your doctor can help you understand this helpful tool and what the results mean for your little one. These charts can be beneficial for new parents who can sometimes feel overwhelmed and may worry about whether or not their baby is doing well compared to their peers.


What Are Baby Growth Charts?

Baby growth charts are essential tools healthcare providers use to check your little one’s overall development. Different charts are used for boys and girls, and various charts are also used for babies younger than 24 months and those two years and older.

Baby growth charts are a standard part of your child’s check-ups. They show how kids are growing compared with other kids of the same age and gender. They also offer the pattern of kids' height and weight gain over time and whether they're growing proportionately.

You can view growth charts below:

CLICK HERE for Baby Boys Growth Chart

CLICK HERE for Baby Girl Growth Chart

My Story

In the first 12 months of my firstborns’ life, she was well off the charts. 

Not long after she was born, I was forced to go back onto medication for a chronic autoimmune condition (I have Narcolepsy), and as the medication was quite new, there were grave concerns it may pass through breast milk. So we breastfed for just two weeks, then we had to move to formula.

As a new mum, this was heartbreaking, and made me question so much about myself as a new mum. 

When she was just four months old, we went and saw our local Pediatrician. We moved onto solids pretty much straight away. After about 4 months of feeding her nutrient dense solids (and obsessively weighing her), she was back in the healthy range… but what a ride!


How to interpret a Growth Chart

Your healthcare provider is the best person to explain your child’s growth to you. Remember, the charts show the typical growth patterns for baby boys and girls, and there is a wide range of results. There is no one ideal result when viewed individually, but, ideally, your child would follow along with the same growth pattern over time and have a height and weight that increases in proportion to each other.

Understanding Percentiles

Each of your child's measurements is placed on the growth chart. These measurements are then compared with the standard (normal) range for children of the same sex and age. If a child's weight is at the 50th percentile line, that means that out of 100 normal children her age, 50 will be bigger than she is and 50 smaller. Similarly, if she is in the 75th percentile, she will be heavier than 75 children and smaller than only 25 compared with 100 children her age.

Infant Development Milestones

Parents often wonder what to expect regarding their baby’s development. It’s important to remember that babies all develop at their own pace. Children’s early childhood experiences shape the brain and their capacity to learn and respond to daily challenges. So tracking their growth and development sets the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour, and health.


Baby Development: One to Three Months

During this first developmental stage, babies’ bodies and brains are learning to adapt to changes. Between birth and three months, your baby may start to:

  • Smiles. Within the first three months, infants will be smiling in response to your smiles and trying to get you to smile back at them.
  • Raise their head and chest when on their tummy.
  • Track objects with their eyes and gradually decrease eye-crossing.
  • Open and shut their hands and bring hands to their mouth.
  • Reach for dangling objects, though they usually won’t be able to get them yet.

Baby Development: Four to Six Months

During these months, babies are learning to reach out and interact with the world around them. They’re mastering the use of tools, their hands. And they’re discovering their voices. From 4 to 6 months old, your baby will probably:

  • Roll over from front to back or back to front. 
  • Start making sounds that can sound like an actual language.
  • Laugh.
  • Sit up with support and have excellent head control.

Key Takeaways

  • Always consult your doctor for every milestone your child hits.
  • Understanding growth charts are essential to track your child’s development.
  • Your baby’s development may vary, depending on their own pace of growth.

 


SOURCES: 

  • https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/understanding-baby-growth-charts
  • https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/babies-and-toddlers-health
  • https://www.rch.org.au/childgrowth/