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Baby Weight Gain and the Growth Chart

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a baby sitting on top of some weight scales

One of the first questions anyone will ask a new mom is "how much did your newborn weigh?" This question doesn't go away during the first year, but do you know what can affect your baby's weight? The answers might surprise you.

Girls are born with more fat reserves than boys. However boys are typically longer and heavier and they can grow more rapidly than girls.

What Your Baby Eats Can Affect Weight

Babies who are breastfed usually put weight on faster than formula-fed babies. However, they may experience a dip in the charts at about four months and then become more lean. Between ages six and 12 months, these breastfed babies typically fall below formula-fed babies on the growth chart. Breastfed babies aren't losing weight, it's just that formula-fed babies could have more fat at this stage.

How Genetics Can Affect a Baby's Weight

Genetics can also play a major role in how much your baby weighs. If you and your partner are smaller than average, chances are your baby will be smaller too. Racial background can also affect where your child will be on the growth chart. Asian children, for example, tend to be shorter than non-Asian children.

What Does a Growth Chart Mean?

Your baby's pediatrician will be able to explain where your baby falls on the growth chart and what it means. These are used to determine whether your child is developing properly and his or her growth will be plotted in a grid and measured in percentiles.

The growth chart is based on measurements from the World Health Organization. Data is gathered from healthy breastfed babies from six different countries.

The growth chart:

  • Can predict how tall your child will be at adulthood.

  • Has a separate growth chart for premature babies.

  • Starts at two weeks and goes to four years.

  • Can calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) after two years.

For more information about your baby's weight and the growth chart, talk to your pediatrician.

 
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