When it comes to babies, weight gain and other vital statistics are fairly individual and many factors need to be taken into account when assessing this. Your clinic or doctor will provide you with charts on your baby’s growth patterns that are tracked at your regular visits.
A growth chart helps you assess if your baby’s growth and development warrants concern, but should also be seen as a guideline, not a rigid rule. These charts give a range of normal values for boys and girls, but many babies fall outside the average ranges without there being any cause for concern.
Helpful as growth charts can be to alert to any problems, they can also be a very emotive issue as many parents think they or their baby have “failed” if their child seems not to be doing as well as other children they know. Don’t feel beholden to charts – rather learn to evaluate your baby as an individual.
The following guidelines will help you know if your baby is on track:
- His birth weight varies between 2.7kg and 3.8kg.
- About 5% to 10% of your baby’s birth weight is lost in the first three days or so of life.
- His birth weight is usually regained between day 10 and day 14 after his birth.
- Steady growth, with occasional plateau periods, is acceptable.
- Weight is gained at about 150g to 225g per week until five months.
- From six to 12 months, babies gain about 85g to 140g per week.
- Pre-term, small- and large-for-dates babies must be evaluated differently.
- Your baby’s birth weight is usually doubled between five and six months.
- His birth weight is tripled at about a year.
- An average length at birth is 48cm to 53cm.
- By six months, his length has increased between 10cm and 16cm.
- At one year, another 10cm to 12cm growth has occurred.
- Double your child’s length at two years for a fairly accurate prediction of eventual adult height.
If your baby is thriving, don’t be too concerned with the rate of weight gain. Family growth patterns and physical build are important as babies often take after their parents. Most clinic sisters and doctors prefer babies to pick up at least 180g to 200g per week and that does make moms worry if their baby doesn’t
You know that your baby is fine if you take the following into consideration:
- Your baby is well, happy, alert and energetic.
- Your baby has five to six wet (including soiled) nappies a day, showing that you can be pretty confident that their milk intake is sufficient.
- Feed whenever your baby really needs to, as much as he needs to.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.