The length and weight of newborn babies can vary significantly. However, with passage of time, infant growth follows a fairly standard path, and the average infant weight gain is similar. One of the most common questions new parents ask the paediatrician is, "How is the baby growing?" The weight of a newborn baby is very often used as an indicator of general well being. But how does the parent know if their infant is gaining weight at a steady pace? Consider the following guidelines to monitor your baby's growth in the first year.
Babies born full term (between 38 to 40 weeks of gestational age) should ideally weigh between 2 to 2.5 kgs. Birth weight can be influenced by a number of factors like gestational duration (full term or preterm), gender, mother's health, nutritional status during pregnancy, multiple births, etc.
However, this does not necessarily imply that babies born with a weight outside this range are ill. Infants born outside this guideline range can still be healthy. Additionally, normally, most babies lose almost 5% of their weight in the first few days after birth. In fact, a 7 to 10% weight loss is also said to be normal in a breastfed baby. Almost all babies regain their lost weight within the next 10 to 14 days. In cases where the weight loss is severe or if the baby is sick or prematurely born, it may take up to 3 weeks or even longer to get back to their earlier birth weight.
From day one up to 6 months, a baby may grow between half to 1 inch a month and gain 140 to 200 grams a week. By the end of 5 months, the normal baby weight at birth is expected to double.
From 6 months to 1 year, a baby grows about 1 cm a month in length, and gains up to 140 grams a week. Expect the baby to weigh nearly thrice its birth weight at the end of the first year of life.
The paediatrician will monitor the baby's growth during routine exams and mark the changes on a standard growth chart.
Always remember that even healthy babies might have brief periods where there is no increase in weight, or they may even show some weight loss. The doctor will be concerned only when the baby does not show any signs of weight gain from one good examination to the next.
Age (years): 0 to 1, Height (centimeter): 46 to 80, Weight (kilograms): 2.5 to 12
Age (years): 1 to 2, Height (centimeter): 71 to 94, Weight (kilograms): 7.5 to 15
Age (years): 2 to 3, Height (centimeter): 82 to 103, Weight (kilograms): 9.5 to 18
Age (years): 3 to 4, Height (centimeter): 89 to 111, Weight (kilograms): 11.5 to 21
Age (years): 4 to 5, Height (centimeter): 95.5 to 118.5, 1Weight (kilograms): 2.5 to 24.5
Age (years): 5 to 6, Height (centimeter): 100 to 126, Weight (kilograms): 13.5 to 28
(also read: 5 Baby Care Essentials You Must Pick For Your Child)
Age (years): 0 to 1, Height (centimeter): 46 to 79, Weight (kilograms): 2.3 to 11.5
Age (years): 1 to 2, Height (centimeter): 69 to 92.5, Weight (kilograms): 7 to 14.5
Age (years): 2 to 3, Height (centimeter): 80 to 102, Weight (kilograms): 9 to 17.5
Age (years): 3 to 4, Height (centimeter): 85.5 to 111, Weight (kilograms): 11 to 21
Age (years): 4 to 5, Height (centimeter): 95 to 118, Weight (kilograms): 12.5 to 25
Age (years): 5 to 6, Height (centimeter): 97.5 to 125.5, Weight (kilograms): 13 to 29
Weight and height are measured at the doctor's clinic or office. It is recommended that babies undergo routine check-ups every 2 to 3 months first month onwards up to their 1st birthday. Such visits are required to ensure that the baby is growing and developing well as expected. These visits also help to ensure that the baby is vaccinated as per the recommended schedule.
During these visits, the doctor will:
Perform a physical exam
Check the baby's immunization record
Weigh and measure the baby to mark on the standard growth chart to compare how your baby is growing to others.
Ask questions related to family and baby
Apart from these routine visits, call your doctor if:
If the baby has not grown as expected
He/She is not eating enough
Lost skills such as crawling or rolling
Does not respond well to sounds or noises
Children are mini-adults with their individual genetic makeup, that might make them grow bit faster or slower compared to the next child. If the child is far outside the ranges mentioned for various growth milestones, only then is there cause for worry.
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