Growth charts are tools or applications used to track or monitor the growth of children over some time. Some children fall right on the average line, while others go above or fall below the line. Therefore, if your child does not fall in the 50th percentile, don’t conclude that he or she is not having a healthy growth. It should be noted that healthy children could fall in the 5th percentile or 95th percentile.
It could be pressing to make a comparison of your child’s growth and development with other children. However, remember that different children come in different sizes and shapes.
Growth is dependent on several factors. These factors include diet, genetics, and activity levels. Also, different babies grow at their own pace. Doctors are meant to track and see that they are on the right growth track. It is not easy to compare the growth of one child to another one, even if they are siblings.
Growth Charts Are Not Equal
It is essential to note that not all growth charts are equal, just like all children are different and grow differently. There is a growth chart that consists of previous data and information gathered from a combination of feeding techniques. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) growth charts are references that display a child’s growth within a specific period.
WHO Growth Charts
The World Health Organization growth charts have more data gathered from breastfed babies. It is recommended that mothers breastfeed more, so the WHO charts are considered the best on how children should grow. Moreover, the CDC advises that the WHO charts should be used to track down the growth of babies for the first 24 months, whether they are taking formula or breastfeeding.
There is a standard for babies and child growth, set by the WHO. 7 to 7 1/2 pounds, which is equivalent to 3.2 to 3.4kg, is the average weight of newborn babies.
Healthy newborns could weigh up to 5 pounds to 8 pounds 6 ounces equivalent to 2.6 to 3.8kg. 2.5 kg is low birth weight, and larger than 4.0 is termed as larger than average.
Factors that Influences Newborn Weight
Many factors influence babies’ birth weight. These factors include:
- Duration of pregnancy: Prematurely born babies are likely to be smaller, and babies that are born past their due date tend to be bigger
- Smoking: Pregnant women who smoke tend to have smaller size babies
- Gastrointestinal diabetes: Larger than average babies can be experienced if the woman has diabetes during pregnancy
- Nutritional level: Excessive weight gain may lead to larger babies while poor nutrition could make chances for smaller babies
- Family history: In some families, it could be that babies are born smaller or larger
- Baby Gender: Averagely, baby boys tend to weigh more than baby girls
- Multiple pregnancies: A single baby in the womb may tend to have bigger size than twins, triplets and so on (multiple pregnancies)
When you compare your baby to other children, you may start feeling concerned if he or she looks bigger or smaller. Fortunately, there is a shortcut to end the fear and to see if your child has healthy growth or not. All you need do is follow the appropriate checkups and see your health provider.
Each time you visit the doctor with your baby, he will weigh and measure the baby. He will be able to keep track of your child’s growth and general health within a specific period. This will enable him to diagnose if there is any diversion from your child’s expected growth. Any detected diversion will be treated if it needs quick intervention. You can keep track of your child’s growth also by making use of a growth track app.