Question sent in via email: How can I tell if our baby is doing well against the charts we have seen on line?
Thanks for submitting your question
Growth charts in the UK have been created by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and are based on World Health Organisation (WHO) Child Growth Standards, which describe the optimal growth for healthy, breast-fed children.
The charts show the growth pattern babies and children follow, whether they’re breastfed or formula fed, or having a mixture of both. There are different charts for boys and girls as their pattern of growth will be slightly different.
The centile lines on the chart show the average weight and height gain for babies of different ages. When using the chart it is not so much about checking which line you are on but that you stay on a similar curve. Therefore if you baby is born on the 25th percentile you would be looking to see they would stay on that curve.
Babies usually track between one centile space (within the gap between two lines). If a baby is unwell they may drop down to a lower percentile but should be back on the same centile space within 3-4 weeks. If a baby drops down more than two spaces you should talk to your health Visitor or GP. As you are interested in how to read a chart, next time you go for baby weighing or a check up appointment ask the professional to show you how they are mapping your baby on the chart.
Hope that helps!
Jill Wheatcroft is a Lecturer in Child Health and is co-founder and Director of Training at Riverside Cares. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org://ww.riversidecares.co.uk