Almost every parent has wondered if their baby’s weight gain is within normal range. Is she growing too fast? Not fast enough? A baby weight chart can help ease your mind.
At each well-child checkup, your baby is weighed and measured, and these numbers are recorded on a chart. The doctor looks at these numbers to determine if baby is growing well for his age. Each baby is different, and not all babies will fall directly in the middle of the chart. In fact, most won’t. As long as baby is growing steadily and on the chart, there is usually no cause for concern.
This baby weight chart is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care. If you have any concerns about baby’s health, talk to your pediatrician right away.
The information in this chart is from The World Health Organization (WHO).
|Age||Boys (lbs. and inches)||Girls (lbs. and inches)|
Is your child low on the baby weight chart?
Just because your baby is on the lower end of the scale doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. Average baby weight is just that—average. Someone has to be on the top and the bottom of the chart, after all, and children from both ends of the spectrum are just as healthy as the ones in the middle.
In fact, only half of babies fall between the 25th and 75th percentiles, meaning that half of all babies fall outside of that range (but are still perfectly normal)!
Paying attention to your unique child’s growth curve is a better indication of health. If baby is at the 25th percentile and then starts going down in percentiles, that may be a concern. If baby is at the 3rd percentile and continues to grow (but stays at the 3rd percentile), there is likely nothing to worry about.
My baby’s height doesn’t match his weight
A wonderful thing about babies is that, just like adults, they are all different! Not every baby will be both short and thin or both tall and chubby. Some are tall and thin, or short and chubby. Some are at the 50th percentile for weight but the 12th for height, or the 50th for height and the 90th for weight (you get the idea).
Each baby is unique, and as long as he falls on the chart (and stays there), he is usually fine. Check with your doctor though if you have any questions or concerns.
My baby is under 6 months old and is not growing well. Should I introduce solids?
The short answer is no. Solids are not recommended for babies under 6 months of age. Six organizations, including the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Family Physicians, agree with this statement.
If a baby this age isn’t growing well, there is often an underlying reason that needs to be addressed, and adding solids won’t fix it alone (and may cause more damage).
Slow weight gain may happen for many reasons, like:
- Baby isn’t getting enough food
- Baby isn’t absorbing food adequately
- Baby has an especially high metabolism
- Parents are on the smaller side
A doctor who is knowledgable about the most up-to-date information on baby weight gain and nutrition is an excellent ally when navigating baby weight issues. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what’s right for your baby.
What can you do if your child is behind on the growth charts?
There are many things you can do to support baby’s growth that are natural and healthy.
Call a lactation consultant
If you’re breastfeeding but baby is not gaining or growing well, that does not necessarily mean you don’t have enough milk. Baby can only eat what he can remove from the breast, and if he has a bad latch or a lip or tongue tie, he can’t remove milk well. Formula may be needed in the short term (because, yes, fed is best), but breastfeeding can almost always work with the right support (and it gets easier too!). A lactation consultant is a great first step to getting back on track.
If you do need to supplement, you don’t have to go with a brand that contains questionable ingredients. There are better brands out there and even homemade versions that can help keep baby’s gut health intact and keep him growing well. (Read more about the best formula here.)
Infants (up to 1 year) are mostly nourished by breast milk, and solid foods are a supplement. If your baby is 6–12 months old and not growing well, make sure he gets enough breast milk first and foremost.
If your baby is old enough and enjoying solids, make sure he is offered plenty of nutrient-rich foods—and few or no low-nutrient foods like grains and sugar. Pasture-raised liver, leafy greens and other vegetables, salmon, pastured egg yolks (with grated raw liver added in?), and avocado are all excellent nutrient-dense foods for baby.
If you have a picky eater (over 1 year old) and think that’s to blame for slow weight gain, check out our tips for getting them to eat.
Support digestive health
You can also support baby’s digestive health, which can help him absorb nutrition more readily. Breast milk is an excellent way to heal and soothe baby’s gut. Add probiotics to your diet to give baby additional good bacteria. You can also add an infant probiotic to baby’s diet directly by placing a drop on your nipple, finger, or pacifier before baby starts suckling. (Learn more about infant probiotics here.) In addition, you can offer fermented foods (beet kvass is easy because it’s in liquid form) as well as prebiotic foods, like under-ripe bananas, to feed the good bacteria.
A gut-healing diet (for older babies and toddlers) may be helpful for some. A damaged gut doesn’t absorb nutrients properly, so baby won’t grow as well. And you probably already know that gut health is the cornerstone to good health! Like a strong immune system, a healthy mood, and more.
A healing diet like GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) or AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) may be needed for some to reset the immune system and heal the digestive tract. These diets eliminate allergens and inflammatory foods, and advocate for highly nutritious foods like grass-fed meat, organ meats, healthy fats, and vegetables.
Breastfeeding mamas can try these gut-healing diets too. If you’re eating something that irritates baby through your breast milk, then cutting it out—even for just a short time—will help baby’s gut and immune system to calm down so that you can add it back in with no (or fewer) problems.
Baby weight chart: bottom line
Just like a snowflake, every baby is different. As long as your baby is growing steadily along his own curve, then there is usually nothing to worry about. But when you do need help, rest assured—there are simple, natural things you can do to support baby’s body in growing big, strong and healthy.