How to read a Baby Growth Chart For a full term baby

Seeing your baby grow so fast before your eyes is one of the great thrills of being a parent. Watching her grow is more than just an exciting experience, though. It is also an important part of monitoring their health as a parent. To keep tabs on their development, doctors use a baby growth chart to track her height and weight throughout her childhood. Learn about the importance of monitoring her growth and how being able to read these growth charts are a key part of this process below.

Article Highlights:

  • Babies grow at different rates, but overly slow or fast growth can indicate possible health issues

  • Your doctor will weigh and measure your children at each of their regular visits

  • A growth chart is a simple way to compare your baby’s height and weight against other babies

  • Using a system of percentiles, doctors can see whether your baby falls within a healthy range for height and weight

The importance of monitoring your baby’s growth

All babies grow at their own unique speed. However, if she is growing too fast or too slow, this 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 visits to the doctor and at any visits when they are sick. Typically these well-child visits occur at these intervals:2

  • Within one to two weeks of birth

  • at 2, 4, 6, 9, 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 population.

By plotting your child’s growth over time on the chart, your doctor is able to see how your baby’s size compares and whether it stays within a healthy range. For children up to age five, the WHO considers children below the 3rd percentile in weight and height to be underweight.

Whereas children above the 97th percentile in weight are consider overweight however these must take into account family size as well so discuss with your health care provider.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 learn more about today about the nutrition your baby needs to support healthy growth and development with resources from Enfamil.


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