by Mary Howard, RN
Would you like to feel more in charge when it comes to knowing how your child should be growing at certain ages? Each child and family traits are so different we don’t all fit into the charts. Let’s look at some of the norms and some reasons why the charts aren’t accurate for everyone.
It is not commonly known, but there are actually two different growth charts. One that comes from national averages and another for Chinese and other small framed people. If your child is below the 50 percentile on a standard chart, that does not mean your child is not healthy, it just means your child’s growth is different than a certain percent of American kids. The same applies to kids that measure over the 50 percentile on the chart.
If your child eats a healthy diet and is growing at a steady pace without signs of illness he or she may just have their own rate. Children are also known to have slow to no growth periods and then growth spurts. This will all come out in the averages over the years.
There are a few general trends in height and weight gain during childhood that might be interesting for you to know. Remember, these are averages and some small-framed people have large babies and some large framed people have small babies.
- At 2 weeks baby should be back to birth weight.
- Weight usually doubles by 4-7 months and height increase by 1 inch. (Notice that is a big variable and still the average.)
- Birth weight may triple by 14-17 months and quadruple by age 2 to 3 years.
- This is interesting, at 2 years height is approximately 50% of eventual adult height.
- Birth length may double by age 4. And triple by age 13.
- On average there is a 4 to 7 pound weight gain a year from age 2 to age 13.
- Then, during puberty, for girls of 10-14 years old, a gain of 15 to 55 pounds and an increase of 2 to 10 inches. (You talk about a wide variable! and that is an average!). About 95% of mature height is achieved by onset of Menarche.
- Boys age 11-16 have a weight gain of 15 to 65 lbs and a height increase of 4 to 12 inches. Height is about 95% of mature height by age 15. This is an average and often times some children reach their mature height before this time and some 2-3 years after this time and still be considered within the normal trends.
So how does your baby grow? Quite contrary to the fear of nervous parents who scan the growth charts looking for the norms. Many times, a baby may be off the scale at one pediatric visit but at or near normal on another visit. Remember, babies do go through growth spurts and sometimes have wide variables.
Thin is in for adults, but babies are expected to be fat and chubby. The simple fact is that babies generally take on the same characteristics of their parents. In other words, small and thin parents may have small and thin babies. It is not always so, but if you and your spouse are small people, your babies may also be smaller than the “norm.” The same thing applies to taller and larger people. The main thing to remember is that as long as your baby is getting good nutrition, plenty of affection, and is growing at a continuous rate, your baby is probably thriving at his own pace.
It is always safe to be cautious when a baby does not appear to be thriving, are they sleeping too much or too busy to have 5 to 6 feedings a day? Sometimes, these may be symptoms of allergies or illness present that may cause baby to lag in eating and failure to thrive. Use your instincts and watch your baby’s symptoms, report anything you feel might be abnormal to your Doctor. Offer your infant and child healthy food choices. Remember, “Everything in Moderation” and by carefully adjusting your baby’s feedings and surroundings you will be well on your way to a happy and healthy child.
Mary Howard is a Registered Nurse, mother of two, and enjoys natural gardening. She hosts this Site: www.Powerlinehealth.com