G- Growth and Development
Growth restricted. Failure to thrive. Supplementing. Growth charts. Percentiles. Growth spurts. Premature. Full-term.
For most parents, these phrases can generate anxiety and self-doubt. Am I starving my baby? What am I doing wrong? Maybe if I feed them more, this would rectify itself. Truth is, while there are charts, guidelines, and perimeters, genetic and family history play a big role in development.
Just when you begin to feel that you are finding your footing with ‘this parenting thing’, BAM! Baby is no longer enjoying their naps, the break in between feeds, has become an all day buffet, and it appears that baby has found its voice using it at all hours and volumes.
It’s your little one growing and developing as it should. Growth and developments helps care providers (and parents) gauge and watch for areas of concern. And while growth and development tracking is beneficial, it can also cause a whirlwind of emotions and concerns for a new parent.
Take an inventory of the information that you may have read. might have been informed by baby’s care provider, and by your supported doula. How is baby eating? What is baby sleeping patterns? How are baby’s diaper outputs? What is the genetic makeup of your family? Is petite a word that is frequently mentioned by your provider? Does obesity run in the family? Are the parents (or grandparents or aunts or uncles or…) tall-stature, short stature, average height, etc etc?
Growth and development charts allow Pediatricians a guideline to better access their line of work for what is ‘normal and healthy’ versus ‘what is ‘a red flag and concern’, they are not the end all and be all for your individual child’s growth and development. Take in the information given, and then also take into consideration what your family’s dynamic and make up is. One of the most important factors, is that baby is gaining and growing. A nice up-flowing line of growth and development is ultimately what the care provider is championing to see.
If you ever have any questions or concerns or doubt about the growth and development of your baby, even for a moment, never hesitate to do your research and get a second, or third, opinion. Because after all, intuition and instincts are real deal.
Let’s break each term down:
Growth restriction is defined by American Pregnancy (https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/fetal-growth-restriction/) as fetal weight below the 10th percentile for gestational age, as determined by an ultrasound.
Failure to thrive is defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/failure-to-thrive) as a child not growing as he or she should.
Supplementing defined by Dictionary.com is something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole.
Growth charts and Percentiles are used by care providers to access the growth and development from infancy to 18 years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s charts https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/clinical_charts.htm are one chart that is utilized to determine the track a child is following.
Growth spurts are the neurological and biological milestones that your infant achieves most commonly at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 4 months, 6 months, and 9 months. (with exception as each baby and circumstance is different)
Pre-term is defined as birth before 37 weeks pregnant. With defining terms of early preterm (before 28 weeks) and Late preterm (between 34-36 weeks)
Full-term being a baby born after 37 weeks gestation.