How to understand that your baby’s height and weight is according to the chart?
The growth of the baby can be learned by observing baby or infant growth charts. It is not necessary to compare the size of your baby with that of the size of other infants randomly, as this may be inaccurate.
It is more important for parents to note that their baby is healthy and stable. Each baby is unique and has a different growth rate. While some babies might get tall easily, some babies may gain weight easily.
The nutrients your baby receives, their genes, the physical environment around them and the lifestyle you follow; are important factors that determine your baby’s growth. These factors may vary drastically from family to family or society to society.
What is the Purpose of Using Growth Charts?
In order to, determine how your baby is growing in comparison to other babies of the same gender, ethnicity, and age. They also enable the pediatricians to check and track how your baby has been developing in terms of height and weight, over a period and if they are growing in the right proportion.
If your baby’s growth has been consistent and suddenly his/her growth stagnated after 1 year according to the growth charts, this may mean that he is not getting enough nutrition or facing some health problems. If there are changes in your baby’s growth pattern, it does not necessarily mean he is not healthy. The pediatrician will take the main factors, that is, lifestyle, genetics, and environment into consideration before determining your baby’s health.
What Measurements are Displayed on The Charts?
Till the time your baby is less than 36 months old, pediatricians measure their height, weight, and their head circumference. It is vital to compare the height of the baby with their weight because it helps determine if your baby is over-developed, under-developed or has a normal growth.
How is Baby’s Growth Measured?
To keep a track of how your baby is growing, your baby’s weight and height are measured once they are born and then monthly by the doctor.
A Special Infant Scale is used to measure the baby’s weight if they are younger than two years. The baby lays on the scale without any clothing to get a more accurate measurement of your baby’s weight until they are two years old.
Once your baby is two years old their weight is measured in light clothing and the doctor will also start measuring their head circumference at this stage.
What is Head Circumference? Why is it measured?
Head circumference is the measurement of your baby’s head above their eyebrows and ears, that is, the largest area around your baby’s head. It is either measured in inches or centimeters. In every routine check-up, the pediatrician will compare the head circumference of your baby to their past measurement and then with the Growth Chart.
Head circumference is measured to get an idea about your baby’s brain development. If your baby’s head circumference is larger than what is normal it can be an indication of hydrocephalus also referred to as “water on the brain.” Hydrocephalus means the increase in fluids within your baby’s brain which may cause them to feel a pressure inside their head.
And if your baby’s head circumference is smaller than what is normal it can be an indication that their brain development has stagnated or slowed down.
What are percentiles? What is a healthy percentile for the baby?
Percentiles are measurements indicating where a baby is compared to most infants. The percentiles can be seen on the growth charts as lines drawn in wavy patterns. When health care providers check the height and weight of a baby on the chart, they see the percentile line on which those measurements lie on. The higher the number of percentiles, the larger the baby in comparison to the other infants from the same gender and age. For both height or weight; the lower the number of percentiles, the smaller the child is. For example, if your baby weighs is on the 20th percentile, only 20% of babies weigh less than your baby whereas 80% of babies weigh more than your baby.
Here are a few Growth Charts by World Health Organization (WHO) you can refer to:
1. You can learn about the growth of your baby by referring to growth charts.
2. Growths charts help determine how your baby has grown and developed over time in relation to other babies of the same gender and age group.
3. Pediatricians measure your baby’s height, weight, and head circumference to determine your baby’s growth.
4. Measuring the baby’s head circumference will give you an idea about their brain development.
5. Percentiles are the measurement of your infant’s growth in comparison to other infants. If your baby lies on a higher percentile, they are larger in comparison to others.