Is Your Child Growing Well?
Babies and children, like adults, are not all the same size. They come in many shapes and sizes and these differences are normal. Your child’s healthcare provider can use a growth chart to keep track of your child’s growth pattern over time. This includes measuring weight, length/height and head circumference.
When should your child’s growth be checked?
- Within 1-2 weeks after birth
- At 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months
- Once per year for children over 2 years of age
Growth checks done at the right time give you and your healthcare provider information to know if your child is growing well. There are also many other aspects of child development, besides weight, that can be considered to ensure your child is growing and developing well. It’s usually not necessary to have your child measured in between these recommended times. Weighing your child more often can create too much attention on weight. This is not helpful and may be harmful.
Why shouldn’t you check your child’s growth more often?
- It may cause worries about growth.
- If weight checks are done too often, it can look like your child isn’t growing well.
- Week to week fluctuations are often not meaningful. Weight and height generally follow a pattern of change over time.
It may lead some parents to question their breastmilk supply
- A breastfeeding parent may unnecessarily offer supplements if they think their child isn’t growing well.
It may lead to starting solid foods before baby is ready
- Babies do not need solid foods until about 6 months. If solids are started too early, babies may not get the proper nutrition they need.
It may cause you to pressure your child to eat more or less
- Trying to control how much a child eats can lead to long term feeding problems.
- Allow your child to choose how much to eat based on their hunger and fullness cues, not their weight.
Questions and concerns
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s growth, please contact your healthcare provider. If there are feeding or health concerns, your healthcare provider may complete growth checks more frequently.
You can also call the Middlesex-London Health Unit at 519-663-5317 to speak with a Public Health Nurse. Registered Nurses and Registered Dietitians are also available by calling Health Connect Ontario (dial 811).
This page was adapted with permission from Southwestern Public Health.
Date of creation: November 11, 2022
Last modified on: November 25, 2022