You’ve been monitoring baby’s growth from the moment you learned you were expecting. Now it’s time to learn how to track baby’s growth outside the womb. Learn about baby growth charts—including growth charts for newborns, infants, and toddlers.
The Importance of Monitoring Your Baby’s Growth
Seeing your baby grow so fast before your eyes is one of the great thrills of being a parent. But it’s more than just an exciting experience—it is also an important part of monitoring health. To keep tabs on your newborn’s development, doctors use a baby growth chart to track height and weight throughout childhood.
All babies grow at their own speed. However, growing too fast or too slow can potentially be a sign of health problems. By monitoring your child’s growth, some issues can be identified early and action can be taken before a problem develops.1 Because of this, your child should be weighed and measured at regularly scheduled well-child doctor visits and at any visits when they are sick. Well-child visits typically occur at these intervals: 2
Within one to two weeks of birth
At two, four, six, nine, 12, 18, and 24 months
What Is a Baby Growth Chart?
A growth chart is a simple way to compare your baby’s height and weight against that of the wider population. The standard baby growth charts for Canada were developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). On the growth charts are a set of curves that correspond with different percentiles of height and weight within a representative sample of the greater national population.
How to Read a Baby Growth Chart for Newborns, Infants & Toddlers
By plotting your child’s growth over time on the chart, your doctor is able to see how your baby’s size compares to the percentile ranges of the population and whether baby’s height and weight are within a healthy range for their age.
For children up to age five, the WHO considers children below the 3rd percentile in weight and height to be underweight. Children above the 97th percentile in weight, however, are considered overweight. Remember that no matter what percentile your baby falls into, your doctor will take into account other factors, including the size of baby’s parents.1 Because sex can affect growth rates, there are separate WHO Growth Charts for Canada for boys and girls, each with their own percentiles.
See the charts below to further understand how they work and how to read them, and learn more about the nutrition your baby needs to support healthy growth and development, no matter if you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby.
- PROMOTING OPTIMAL MONITORING OF CHILD GROWTH IN CANADA: USING THE NEW WHO GROWTH CHARTS, (https://www.cps.ca/uploads/tools/growth-charts-statement-FULL.pdf)