NOTE: This post contains affiliate links of Recommended products that when you purchase any product through the link provided, I will earn a commission at a no cost which will suport my work as a blogger to produce more educative posts like this one.
Please if the recommended products don’t cause any positive change in your life, I do advice you to see your personal doctor as soon as possibe.
Babies grow at a very fast rate in the first year of life as well as into their toddler years.
Concern about the growth and development of your baby is a natural part of being a parent.
Visits to the pediatrician will give you a sense of how your baby is developing.
This will tell you how your baby is growing in comparison to other babies of the same age and sex.
But you may want to check your baby’s growth in between pediatrician visits.
By checking your baby’s vital statistics and comparing these measurements to growth and milestone charts, you can measure your baby’s growth.
Checking Your Baby’s Measurements
Weigh your baby.
If your baby is steadily gaining weight, it is a good sign that she is healthy and feeding well.
Weighing your baby can be especially helpful if she is a newborn that lost weight after birth or if there are other health concerns.
Use a baby scale to weigh your baby if you have one.
This will give the most accurate reading because they can read smaller increments of weight;
however, you can also a precise reading if you have a working and accurate scale.
Simply weigh yourself while holding the baby and then weigh yourself after you’ve set your baby down in a safe space.
Subtract your weight from the combined weight.
The difference is about how much your baby weighs.
Be aware that a baby’s weight can fluctuate throughout the day just like an adult.
In order to get the most accurate measurements, try weighing your baby under the same conditions each time.
For example, you could weigh the baby at the same time every day, right before a feeding, or after changing her diaper.
Calculate the length of your baby
It can be difficult to measure a baby’s length accurately, especially if he moves a lot.
Despite the difficulty, you may still want to have an idea of how your baby compares to growth charts or even buy the proper sized clothing for your baby.
Ask your partner or a family member to help you.
He can help gently stretch out your baby’s leg to get the most accurate measurement.
Lay your baby down on your bed, changing table or another soft, flat surface.
Use a soft, flexible measuring tape to measure the baby from the top of the head to the heel.
If your baby is too busy squirming, lay him down on top of a sheet of paper on a flat surface.
Mark the sheet under the baby with a pencil at the top of the head and again at the bottom of the heel.
Remove the baby and measure the length between the two marks.
Remember that this number likely won’t be exactly the same as your doctor’s, but it is still a good ballpark figure.
Determine the baby's head circumference
A baby’s head growth can signal certain medical conditions or developmental problems.
Checking the circumference, or the distance, around your baby’s head can indicate normal growth or alert you to see a doctor about possible issues.
Wrap a soft and flexible measuring tape around your baby’s head just above her eyebrows and ears and then around the back of the head where her head slopes up prominently from the neck.
You want to measure the baby’s head at the place where its circumference is largest.
Make sure to line up the starting line on the measuring tape with the final point of the measurement.
You can put a small dot or mark at each end to help you more accurately get the measurement, especially if your baby is squirming.
eview other factors.
In addition to your baby’s vital statistics, you can also check other factors, such as feeding, to measure his growth.
Combined with weight, length, and head circumference, these can give you a sense of how your baby is growing. Look at:
How often your baby feeds
How quickly your baby grows out of his clothing
When your baby meets developmental milestones such as smiling and waving
Whether your baby seems happy, alert, and generally well
Recognize accuracy concerns.
It’s important to be aware that your home measurements may not be as accurate as your pediatrician’s.
Your doctor has specialized instruments to get the most accurate information about your baby’s development;
however, you may also pick up on mistakes that your doctor made.
As long as there isn’t a significant discrepancy in measurements, you can rest assured about your efforts.
Take your own measurements after a doctor’s visit so that you can compare your scale to your doctor’s.
This can give you a good reference point when you take measurements at other times.
Check your work by doing each measurement twice.
If the two numbers don’t match, do a third round and take the more consistent number.
Keep notes on measurements
It’s a good idea to take notes in a notebook any time you measure your baby.
You can use these not only to chart and examine her growth, but also see how the measurements compare with those of your pediatrician.
Make sure to have the notebook and pencil ready before you start measuring your baby.
This can keep you from scrambling around with a fussy or squirmy baby.
Write the date at the top of each page and note each measurement as you take it.
This can ensure that your notes are as accurate as possible.
In addition, make notes about things such as your baby’s overall happiness, appetite, and anything else you think is important.
Consider keeping the book in the same place as any official baby books or notes your doctor gives you.
This will help you stay organized and keep track of all of your baby’s measurements.
Take the notes to your baby’s pediatrician appointments if you like.
You can ask the doctor any questions you may have about how your measurements and the doctor’s compare.
Use recognized charts.
Growth and milestone charts can provide you important information about your baby’s growth over time and compared to other babies of the same age and sex.
They can track change over time and ensure that your baby grows on his own growth curve.
This information can reassure you that your baby is growing at the expected rate and alert you to problems with feeding or other health issues.
For this reason, it’s important to use growth and milestone charts from your doctor or another recognized organization such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Be aware that the CDC, WHO, and UNICEF all use similar charts and may often refer you directly to each respective organization’s website.
For example, the CDC suggests using WHO growth charts for children ages 0–24 months.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about interpreting the data on growth charts.
Consult the proper chart for your baby.
In addition to using charts from recognized health providers and organizations, you’ll need to make sure you use the right chart for your baby.
There are different growth charts for boys and girls as well as for premature babies and babies with certain chromosomal disorders.
Be aware that a baby’s ethnicity has no bearing on what growth chart you use.
Recognize that the WHO does not provide information for preemies or babies with chromosomal disorders;
however, organizations such as the American Association of Pediatricians and the Child Growth Foundation offer charts for preemies and babies with chromosomal disorders.
Correlate your measurements to growth charts.
Take out your notes and compare each measurement you took with the corresponding chart measurements.
The charts will have nine percentiles lines that represent the range of growth considered normal for your baby.
For example, if your baby’s line is on the 25th percentile line, it means that 25% of babies weigh less than yours and 75% weigh more.
Doctors consider babies normal that consistently fall between the the 3rd and 97th percentile lines.
The nine percentiles lines are:
- 3rd percentile
- 5th percentile
- 10th percentile
- 25th percentile
- 50th percentile
- 75th percentile
- 90th percentile
- 95th percentile
- 97th percentile
Check for consistent growth.
Although doctors consider children between the 3rd and 97th percentile normal, you child may fall above or below these levels for different reasons; however, your doctor may consider your baby’s growth normal so long as he grows along a consistent curve.
Speak to your doctor about your baby’s growth curve to ensure that it falls within a consistent and normal range for your baby.
Notice if you baby suddenly goes up or down on his personal curve. If this happens, it may signal developmental problems or a failure to thrive.
Contact your baby’s doctor if you see any inconsistent growth on your baby’s curve.
Evaluate milestone charts
Skills that babies meet at a certain age are called developmental milestones.
These milestones include skills such as standing, walking, smiling, or waving goodbye.
Your baby will meet milestones in how she plays, learns, speaks, behaves, and moves.
Your doctor will likely ask you about these developments during regular visits.
Ask your doctor about what milestones to expect from your baby.
You can also access a list of developmental milestones from organizations such as the CDC and WHO.
Your baby should reach certain milestones at the following ages:
At 2 months, your baby should holding up her head and beginning to push up from his or her tummy
At 4 months, hold her head without support or push down on her legs when the feet are on a hard surface
At 6 months, your baby should begin to sit without support and roll over in both directions—front to back and back to front
At 9 months, your baby should be able to stand while holding something and crawl
At 12 months or 1 year, your baby should pull to a stand or stand alone and walk while holding on to furniture, also called cruising
At 18 months, she should be saying several single words and scribbling
Avoid comparisons to other babies.
Remember that your baby is an individual and will not grow in the same way as someone else’s baby, or even your previous children.
Watch your baby’s growth and overall well-being and listen to your pediatrician to reassure yourself that your baby is developing normally.
Remember that growth charts are also not a perfect measurement for your baby.
Although growth charts are useful, they can’t detect or diagnose specific health problems and don’t account for all of the factors that influence your baby’s growth.
For this reason, you should also avoid comparing your baby’s growth chart and developmental milestones with other babies’.
See your doctor.
In most cases, you can expect that your baby’s growth curve to be consistent; however, if your baby’s curve crosses two centile lines, either upwards or downwards, schedule an appointment with the pediatrician.
You should also consult a medical professional if you notice any developmental delays or issues.
Inform the doctor about your concerns and provide as much information as possible.
This includes any notes you’ve taken during your personal measurements or assessments.
Make sure to ask questions if you have them.
Addressing Growth Concerns
Recognize reasons for an inconsistent growth.
In most cases, babies steadily gain weight and grow quickly; however, in some cases children may grow too quickly or not enough.
There are many different reasons for growth disorder, which require a doctor’s diagnosis.
Some of the reasons for inconsistent growth include:
- Chronic diseases
- Complications during the mother’s pregnancy
- Genetic conditions
- Failure to thrive
Be aware of failure to thrive.
Some babies may not grow and gain weight normally after birth.
Doctors call this “failure to thrive” and it can happen to any baby.
It can be caused by a variety of things such as the child doesn’t get enough to eat or an illness such as gastroesophageal reflux or food intolerance.
A mixture of medical problems and environmental factors can also contribute to failure to thrive.
In most cases, failure to thrive will go away when a baby starts eating enough food.
Be aware that your doctor may diagnose your baby as failing to thrive if he doesn’t gain weight for three months in a row during the first year of life.
Give your doctor as much information as you can about your baby’s feedings or household stresses.
Your doctor may order tests to see if there are any underlying conditions causing your baby’s failure to thrive.
Other factors that your doctor may use to diagnose failure to thrive are: falling below the third percentile for weight on his or her chart and weighing 20% below the ideal weight for his or her height.[
Help your baby grow and gain weight.
Your baby’s weight gain and growth are connected.
Ensuring that your baby is eating enough and gaining weight can also help her grow in length.
Let your baby feed on demand instead of on a strict schedule.
Make sure you let your baby feed for as long as she wants.
Check your milk supply and talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant if you have concerns.
They may recommend ways to increase your supply or recommend supplementing with formula.
This can help ensure your baby is getting enough to eat.
Offer more high-calorie food like whole milk cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, avocados and whole wheat bread and pastas to babies eating solids.
Sometimes special high calorie drinks such as Pediasure may be recommended.
Have eating concerns evaluated.
If you are concerned about your baby’s eating habits or inability to grow, consider seeing a specialist.
A pediatric dietician or developmental pediatrician can help diagnose, address, and treat any problems with your baby’s growth.
Take all of your baby’s medical records to your appointment.
In addition, give the doctor notes about feedings and any problems you’ve encountered with feedings.
Answer any questions the specialist may have about your baby’s growth, feedings, or other habits.
Ask the specialist questions you have about treatment options for your baby.
You may also have questions on how to best meet your baby’s feeding and growth needs.