Weight gain

The ritual of weekly baby weighing clinics is unlikely to end anytime soon, and so I am delighted to learn that – at last- the old World Health Organisation baby weight charts are being ditched in favour of more evidence-based ones.  Previously, the charts “smoothed over” the differences in normal childrens’ weight gain in the first two weeks of life: now, the fact that “all infants show different patterns of weight gain” in these two weeks is accepted and instead the weight gain relative to birth weight is more important. Additionally, there are now charts specifically for pre-term infants.

I am sorry to say that I never knew the old infant weight charts to be contentious until I (or my child) was on the wrong side of them. The old charts were based on forumula-fed babies. Breast-fed babies, having a different pattern of weight gain, tended to look malnourished on the old charts rather than thriving.

The charts are free to download from the Royal College of Paediatrics website.

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