Tracking your unborn baby’s milestones: Essential tools

You need not guess at your child’s physical growth if you have a reliable baby growth chart at hand. This article explains the functions and need of a growth chart.

Most parents feel that the most difficult part of having a baby is having the baby! But what comes next is the tough part: the nightly feedings, watching with trepidation as the baby begins to walk and run, seeing them learn to eat and dress themselves, etc.

It all begins with monitoring if your child is developing as they should. A baby growth chart can help you judge your child’s physical development.

What is a baby growth chart?

A baby growth chart is a WHO-approved chart for every country, which lists the physical developmental milestones for babies up to a certain age. Newborn babies’ growth is mapped and measured by doctors up to age 3, after which a different set of growth parameters are applied. Primarily, the parameters in baby growth charts list the baby’s ideal weight, height, head circumference, etc.

The growth chart is created after measuring thousands of babies in a country and getting average numbers for height and weight for babies of the same age. For instance, if your baby is 6 months old, then the growth chart must be consulted for 6-month-old babies and not older ones.

Generally, the doctor will consult the growth chart during every subsequent visit. You can voice any concerns about your baby’s growth and feeding habits during this time.

Your doctor can tell you if there is any cause for worry

Normally, the baby growth chart lists out average parameters for the baby’s height, weight and other factors. If your baby is slightly underweight or overweight, or if they have not grown in inches as much as the chart predicts, it is not a cause for worry unless your doctor says so. Some babies have a slower growth cycle than others, while other babies may grow as per predicted outcomes. As long as the baby does not exhibit any problematic symptoms of frequent illnesses, or is not seriously underweight or refuses to feed at all, you should really not worry.

Try getting your child’s mental markers tested as well

Most parents are unaware of a deficiency in their child’s mental make-up till the issue is too obvious to go unnoticed. For example, a child aged 1 year old will start to speak a few words, and begin to develop cognitive abilities. As they grow older, they will begin to walk, connect words with objects, exhibit emotions in response to stimuli, etc. Children not showing these behaviours at the right age may have mild cognitive impairment, or learning disabilities, or they may even be on the Autism spectrum. The good news is that your child can be tested as young as six months old for these future signs of development. Your doctor can advise you on consulting a neural specialist/developmental psychiatrist for this kind of testing.