The first thing happy parents tell their family and friends is the gender, height, and weight of the newborn. “A son was born, 52 cm, 3.5 kg”, or: “We have a girl, 3000 g, 50 cm” – these are the most common words that are spoken on the phone or in SMS messages about your child. The doctor puts the same parameters first in the history of the health of the newborn. Why are the baby’s height and weight figures so crucial for doctors and parents?
Height, body weight, and also the size of the head and chest circumference are the leading indicators with which doctors evaluate the physical development of a newborn baby. Small or, conversely, large weight, the ratio of the circumference of the head and chest, the height of the baby is not just dry numbers, they can be assumed or excluded some diseases of the newborn. Then, when the child grows up, it is based on these parameters that pediatricians will monitor his health condition, give advice on feeding, regimen, and make some appointments.
That is why, as soon as the baby is born, they immediately measure, weigh, and enter these data into the medical record. Then, in the first year of life, the height, weight, circumference of the baby’s chest and head should be measured once a month, since the baby is growing very rapidly at this time.
Height, body weight, and also the size of the head and chest circumference are the leading indicators with which doctors evaluate the physical development of a newborn baby. Small or, conversely, substantial weight, the ratio of the rim of the head and chest, the height of the baby is not just dry numbers, they can be assumed or excluded some diseases of the newborn. Then, when the child grows up, it is based on these parameters that pediatricians will monitor his health condition, give advice on feeding, regimen, and make some appointments.
That is why, as soon as the baby is born, they immediately measure, weigh, and enter these data into the medical record. Then, in the first year of life, the height, weight, circumference of the baby’s chest and head should be measured once a month, since the baby is increasing at this time.
Baby Growth: Monthly Increase
The growth of full-term newborns is usually in the range of 46–56 cm. Boys are generally longer than girls, but if the parents are tall, the newborn girl can significantly outperform the average young boy.
What happens to the growth of children in the first year of life? During this period, the child grows most intensively – by as much as 20-25 cm! In the future, such a significant increase in growth will no longer be.
It is known that the growth of children increases unevenly, irregularly. For example, there are seasonal and daily dynamics. Many parents notice that during the summer, the child is stretched more than at other times of the year. It has also been established that at night, children grow faster than during the day.
An interesting fact: those parts of the body that are most distant from the head grow faster (that is, the baby’s foot becomes more quickly than the lower leg, and the lower leg, in turn, is faster than the thigh), which is associated with an age-related change in the proportions of the child’s body.
In addition to growth, doctors evaluate other parameters of the newborn. Be sure to measure the circumference of his head and chest. In a newly born baby, on average, the head circumference is 34–36 cm and the chest circumference is 32–34 cm. As a rule, the boundaries of the chest and head become the same by four months of life. After that, the chest in the circle grows faster than the head. In a one-year-old child, the chest circumference is approximately 48 cm, and the head circumference is about 46–47 cm. But these are only average numbers: after all, children, like adults, have different physique, different head shapes – therefore, a slight deviation from the average digits.
Baby weight: monthly increase
The importance of the newborn can be 2.6-4 kg. Babies born with a load of more than 4 kg are considered significant. This can be both a feature of the constitution (for vital parents and the child will be substantial) and evidence of a violation of carbohydrate metabolism in mom.
An important fact: the bodyweight of the child at discharge from the hospital is usually less than the one with which it was born – both indicators are recorded in documents issued to the mother. Do not be afraid of such “weight loss” – this is a natural process called physiological weight loss. It occurs due to the loss of water through the lungs and skin, the drying up of the remainder of the umbilical cord, the excretion of urine, and meconium (primal feces).
The maximum weight loss in most newborns occurs by the 3rd – 5th day and is typically no more than 6–8% of the initial weight. And by the 7-10th day of life, healthy children weigh as much as immediately after birth. If the child loses more than the specified norm or for a long time can not restore the lost grams, this may indicate an infection or congenital pathology.
In the first year of life, the baby’s weight increases most. There are several ways to calculate weight gain.
For example, in the first half of the year, a child should add at least 600-800 g per month. By six months, his weight usually doubles. In the second half of life, the rate of weight gain is somewhat reduced – it increases by 300-550 g per month. This is because the child becomes more mobile: he no longer lies in the crib, but actively turns over, crawls, sits up, gets up and starts walking. By the year, the child’s weight should triple in comparison with the original.
Some mothers are intensely watching how their baby is gaining weight. They are ready to weigh their baby daily, almost after each feeding, believing that with each meal, the pressure should increase. Do not waste time on this – the importance of the child, like height, expands unevenly. It does not happen that every day the baby adds average grams: over time, the mother will notice that there are times when the weight is stable or increases slightly, and then a sudden jump occurs.
For control, it is enough to weigh the child once a week, preferably in the same clothes. There are two types of scales for weighing children: mechanical and electronic. Today, electronic scales are more convenient to use – they are lightweight, compact, mobile. Some models automatically take into account and subtract the weight of the diaper, “remember” previous weighings, can show the dynamics of changes in pressure and even measure height. If it is not possible to purchase scales, you can get by with a monthly measurement of weight in a children’s clinic.
After the first year of life, the rate of weight gain (as well as growth) is significantly reduced. In ordinary life, a child and even an adult will never be able to double or even triple his weight in one year.
Attention to numbers: weight gain rate
Each person has his idea of health. So, for some parents (as well as grandparents) it seems that the baby should be a kind of well-fed “boletus.” And insufficient, in their opinion, the weight and height of the baby lead them into confusion.
These days, there are more and more children with excessive weight gain, and most often, this is observed in breast-fed babies. So, some parents, wanting to feed their child more satisfyingly, make the mixture more concentrated or increase the number of feedings. As a result, children gain more weight than necessary, which is why many of them are behind in development from their peers – they begin to roll over later, crawl, walk, get sick more often, are more prone to allergic reactions.
In this situation, it is necessary to revise the child’s diet: strictly observe the number and volume of feedings, after the introduction of complementary foods give the baby more fruit and vegetable purees, and limit cereals, crackers, cookies. It is necessary to do gymnastics with the child, create conditions for physical activity for him. But one should not go to extremes: insufficient weight gain in a child should also not be ignored. Indeed, sometimes, this can be a symptom of some pathology: for example, anemia or rickets.
When receiving the results of measuring your baby, you need to remember that all children are different, and each baby doesn’t need to reach an average height and weight by a certain age. It is essential to take into account the height and weight at birth, as well as the rate of increase of these indicators: for example, a newborn with a height of 48 cm and a load of 2900 g in 1 year can differ significantly in anthropometric symbols from a child born with a height of 55 cm and a weight of 4000 g. And this perfectly normal – it’s good when there is diversity in the world!