Baby Growth Charts: What Influences Your Baby’s Growth?
How to Tell If Growth Could Be a Problem
One of the first signs that a child is not getting enough calories is when her weight increases at a much slower rate than her height and begins to fall below two percentile lines.
- Depending on the extent of the poor caloric intake, the child's height could become "stunted," that is, the height begins descending on the growth chart.
- If the lack of nutrition is severe and continues for an extended period of time, the head growth slows down, indicating that there are not enough calories for the brain to grow at a normal rate.
Similarly, a steady increase in weight, while the child's height increases at a much slower rate, indicates she may be putting too much extra meat on her bones. This can be a good thing or an early sign of a risk of obesity.
Put the growth chart into context. No child's growth and development is always so smooth and perfect like the lines of the chart. Kids bounce up and down the growth charts, depending on appetite, feeding issues, illnesses, brief feeding strikes, etc.
Consider other signs of good health. Does your child appear otherwise happy and healthy? Is she making nice developmental progress? If the answers are yes, a problem is less likely.
When to Worry
If your child's growth rate slows down (weight, height, or head size) and she falls below two percentile lines, then you should explore the reason for the poor growth.
Dr. P's Pearl
Don't obsess about every up and down of your infant's growth chart. It's only potentially a problem when there is a persistent downward trend, usually lasting many months.