Newborn And Infant Nutrition And Growth Basics
Newborn And Infant Nutrition And Growth Basics
Rebecca Charlton (Lactation Educator & Registered Dietitian, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles) gives expert video advice on: Should I worry if my child is outside the normal growth chart range?; Is it normal for my baby to lose weight in the first 3-4 days?; Should I worry if my baby is overweight? and more...
How do doctors take a baby's measurements?
A doctor will take your baby's measurements in a bunch of different ways. Up to age one, the baby will be removed of its diaper and its clothing, and put on a scale where it can lie down. Most babies will wiggle and make it very difficult for everyone involved. However, the doctor can get the most accurate weight this way. When the doctor measures length, the will to try and stretch your baby out so it's in a supine position for as long as it possibly can be. Your baby will also fight this. You should expect measurements to not be a very enjoyable part of any doctor's visit. When your baby gets old enough to stand, your doctor will measure your baby standing against a wall, using a stadiometer. The stadiometer will tell your doctor exactly how tall your baby is. Once it can stand, it will also be placed on a standing scale to get a more accurate measurement.
Should I worry if my child is outside the normal growth chart range?
The growth chart is a useful tool to tell us how your baby is growing. You should know, though, there is no right or wrong place to be on the growth chart. The trick is just to be somewhere on the growth chart range and to stay in about that growth chart range. For example, if you have a baby that grows on the fiftieth percentile, the big, thick black line in the center, that means your baby is about the same as most other babies. However, if your baby is slightly bigger and always grows along the seventy-fifth percentile, or slightly smaller and grows along the twenty-fifth percentile, this doesn't mean much to you at all. It means a lot more to statisticians and people in the hospital. All we're really looking for is: is your baby somewhere on the growth chart and continuing on that exact same line or path? Whether the baby is up or down tells you very little about whether the baby is healthy, happy, and growing appropriately.
What is the average growth rate for babies?
Your baby's growth rate as weight gain will depend on your baby's size and genetic potential. It depends a lot more on how you and your husband grew than it does on any sign or any book answer to this question. Many moms want a finite goal for growth rate, but it's very difficult to give. In general, your baby should be growing and gaining weight at every single visit you have with your doctor. We look, in clinical practice, for a weight gain of around twenty to thirty grams per day, which is about a half an ounce to an ounce per week, but that's far from perfect. And we're going to look much more at your baby's growth chart and pattern over time than any finite figure for growth rate.
Does having a chubby baby mean I'll have a fat child?
An overweight or chubby baby does not normally mean you will have an overweight child. Many babies are just more chubby than other babies. Each baby has its own way of growing. You should never become concerned about your baby's weight just because it looks a little heavier or less heavy than another baby.
Is it normal for my baby to lose weight in the first 3-4 days?
All babies lose weight in the first few days. You shouldn't be the least bit concerned if your baby appears to lose weight because at first it weighed one thing, then it weighs a few ounces less at the next measurement. The baby shifts in water over the first few days. It comes out very puffed up on mommy's water, and then over time loses weight and goes back to a much more normal weight. The important thing is that your baby is posting gains. As long as after that first measurement where it's lost weight it starts growing, and it's a happy, healthy baby who feeds well, you have no reason to worry.
What is "failure to thrive"?
Failure to thrive is a sudden and drastic change in the growth pattern of your baby. Failure to thrive means your baby may suddenly stop growing in length or change in its weight gain patterns.
What do I do if my baby has failure to thrive?
If your baby has ‘failure to thrive' your health care team will help you to know how to best help that baby. Most babies with failure to thrive will require a high calorie diet. This should never be attempted without the assistance of your paediatrician and a dietician.
Should I worry if my baby is overweight?
You shouldn't worry about your baby being overweight in the first two years of life. In general, your baby is going to grow just fine. Your doctor will let you know if your baby suddenly changes its growth pattern, growing faster or slower than normal. At that stage, your doctor will also indicate what you can do to help your baby.