With a lot of weighing clinics closed, many parents have been worrying about their child’s growth, especially during the time when solids are introduced for the first time and portion sizes might be perceived as small. However, weighing your baby at home and plotting their weight is fairly easy - read on for Dr Sophie’s helpful tips.
How to weigh your baby at home:
All you need is a digital bathroom scale. The easiest way to weigh your baby is by weighing yourself on the scale first with your baby in your arms, then without. The difference between both weights will give you your baby’s current weight.
This is an example:
Parent with baby: 77 kg
Parent without baby: 70 kg
Baby’s weight: 77kg - 70 kg = 7kg
It’s best to weigh your baby naked without a nappy to get an accurate measurement.
How to plot your baby’s weight in the red book:
In the back of your baby’s red book, you will find their growth charts. These charts show the normal growth pattern of children in a specific population. They range from 1 to 100 and the red book shows some of them as lines (namely the 3rd, 25th, 50th, 75th and 97th). If you put 100 children of the same population (e.g. healthy boys living in Europe) and the same age next to each other, being on the 25th percentile means that 25 children are lighter and 74 children are heavier.
What is of interest for your child is not necessarily how they compare to other children but rather if their growth follows their individual centile. If your little one was born on the 50th centile, their weight should remain in the range of the 50th centile for the rest of their life.
In order to plot your child's weight, find their age on the vertical line on the bottom of the chart and, with your finger, draw a vertical line towards the top. Find your baby’s weight on the vertical axis on the left and, with your finger, draw a horizontal line towards the right side. Leave a dot where both lines meet, as this is your baby’s current position on the centile chart.
Your child’s weight (as well as length and head circumference) should roughly follow the same centile line over the years. Sometimes, they can go up or down one line but they should not jump more than two lines. Especially in the first weeks after birth, small weight changes can be caused by a good feed or a bowel movement. Later on, your little one’s growth curve might plateau during developmental spurts, when calorie consumption is higher than usual but appetite is lower. This often happens between 6 and 10 months, when your little one starts moving around.
If you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain, speak to a health professional about it.
How often should I weigh my baby?
There is no need to measure your baby’s weight very often, as small changes can feel unsettling when they are really perfectly normal.
After the first two weeks, the NHS recommends weighing your baby:
- no more than once a month up to six months of age
- no more than once every two months from 6-12 months of age
- no more than once every three months over the age of one