Understanding Baby's Growth Charts and Percentiles

Hey mama! Today we’re talking about your baby’s growth and how to understand baby's growth chart. Growth charts and percentiles are wonderful tools that your doctor uses to track your little one’s growth and evaluate their overall health, nutritional intake and, possibly, identify any underlying medical issues that keep baby from thriving! Our hope is that this information will help you understand your child’s growth results so you feel empowered and capable of discussing baby’s growth with your doctor or anyone else for that matter. So what exactly are growth charts and percentiles?

Growth charts are charts that show you where your baby’s measurements (weight for length, length for age and head circumference) fall in comparison to other children his/her exact age. Your doctor might provide a printout showing your baby’s curve and the percentile for each category

There are three main categories:

  1. Weight for Length

  2. Length for Age

  3. Head Circumference

Sometimes parents get hung up over baby’s percentile but they shouldn’t! The percentile simply tells you how your baby compares to other babies that age. Let’s say your little one is 10% for weight, 50% for height and 25% for head circumference. Should you be worried that baby is unhealthy because the percentiles are relatively small? What if your friend has a baby who is 85% for weight, 90% for height and 60% for head circumference. Should she be worried because baby’s percentiles are huge? NO, neither of you should be concerned based off of that information alone.

Growth percentiles provide one little snippet of information and you cannot take them out of context. What these mean is: your baby weighs more than 10% of babies that age, is taller than 50% of babies that age and his/her head is larger than 25% of babies that age. Whereas your friends baby weighs more than 85% of babies that age, is taller than 90% of babies that age and has a head that is bigger than 60% of babies that age. NOTE: growth percentages are NOT parenting grades! You baby is not in competition with other babies to reach 100%.

What is important is for baby to grow at a steady and consistent rate! Health professionals want to see your baby STICK to their unique curve which includes the occasional peak and valley. The take away here is that each child grows at their own special and consistent pace.

Babies growth pattern and percentiles are not great indicators of adult size! So don’t be shocked if your petite little boy grows into a strapping young man or your tiny ballerina blossoms into a strong, athletic woman! On the converse, your baby who has been consistently taller and heavier than her peers might end up being average size or even on the short side.  Future size is hard to predict but the best indicator is parental height and weight. Your genes and lifestyle/health habits are much more likely to influence your child’s adult size than their birth weight and infant growth pattern. How cool is that? Your lifestyle choices and habits influence baby’s lifestyle choices and habits even before birth. That’s why it is SO important to care or yourself NOW! Not sure where to start? Browse our programs and find the one that best fits the stage of life that you are currently in!

So, what do you think, ladies? Did this post make growth charts and percentiles a less daunting topic? Does it give you peace of mind? Do you have other questions or need some more clarification? Feel free to let us know and, as always, share the post if you found it helpful! Follow us on Instagram for daily tips and Facebook for all the latest program information!

Sending lots of love your way, girl! XOXO