“Present in the baby’s health record and mandatory for updates by the pediatrician, growth charts are essential if you want to monitor your baby’s growth and health.”
A clear growth in European children has been observed since the 19th century, and the average height of children has also increased. This is partly due to improvements in nutrition and health. Are growth charts really important? Find out everything about baby growth charts in this article!
What are growth charts for?
The charts for a baby’s weight, height, and head circumference allow for monitoring their growth. These criteria are automatically recorded in your baby’s health record and are regularly updated by the pediatrician during check-up appointments. Growth charts make it easier to track a child’s development, with details on the baby’s height and weight.
In case of a health issue, growth charts often show a deviation. For instance, during a bout of diarrhea, the weight chart can suddenly drop.
The frequency of growth check-ups
Measuring and weighing an infant monthly is recommended until they reach 2 years of age. Afterward, you can space out the monitoring of the baby’s development. Even though it would be ideal to check their growth every 6 months until they are 6 years old and then annually until they reach puberty. Nowadays, monitoring children’s weight is of even greater interest to doctors in the context of preventing childhood obesity.
Average baby weight
At birth, the average weight of a newborn varies between 2,250 grams and 4,000 grams. During the first days, it’s common for babies to lose weight (sometimes up to 10%) since they are expending energy to live, while in their mother’s womb, everything was provided directly. For the rest, their weight will double at 5 months, triple at 1 year, and quadruple at 2 years.
The height chart
Weighing a newborn is done while lying down and can be done at the pediatrician’s office as soon as the day after their birth. At birth, a newborn’s height generally ranges from 40 cm to 52 cm. It will increase by 3 cm per month up to 3 months, then by 2 cm up to 6 months. Up to 1 year, their height will increase by 1.5 cm, making them nearly 75 cm tall. And until the age of 4, the child will gradually gain centimeters to reach a height of one meter.
Here are the centimeters your baby will gain according to their age:
- 3 cm from 0 to 3 months
- 2 cm from 3 to 6 months
- 1 cm from 6 to 12 months
- Here are the possible height variations for your baby from their first year:
- between 70 and 80 cm at 1 year
- between 80 and 90 cm at 2 years
- between 95 cm and 1.05 m at 4 years
The head circumference chart
The head circumference chart is obtained by measuring your baby’s head circumference. It is essential for monitoring the rapid development of their brain during the first months of life. Especially when considering that the fontanelles in the skull bones, which separate the different bones, gradually fuse until they are fully formed between 12 and 18 months. This measurement can also help detect any anomalies in the nervous system.
It is worth noting that the head circumference regularly increases up to 10 cm until the age of 1 year.
Here are the possible sizes based on the baby’s age:
- at birth: 35 cm
- at 6 months: 44 cm
- at 1 year: 47 cm
- at 2 years: 50 cm
From adulthood, a steady increase in head circumference (5 to 6 cm) will be observed.