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Baby growth charts to be revised

Advice on why current baby growth charts are being revised to include breastfed rather than bottle fed babies.
In light of recent WHO recommendations the 'powers that be' are currently deciding whether to revise the growth charts currently used to monitor infant development. It is on the basis of these charts that healthcare professionals advise parents as to whether their baby's are gaining weight at a healthy rate. However, recent research based on a Europe-wide study of infant growth has suggested that these charts prompt overfeeding that could be setting children up for obesity in later life.

The research suggested that babies fed on formula milk tend to gain weight far quicker than those fed exclusively on breast milk. This is thought to be because the high level of protein found in formula milk increases production of insulin - the hormone that encourages fat storage. As the original charts were constructed in the 80's and based on largely bottle fed babies, concerns have been raised as to whether these charts are actually encouraging mothers to overfeed their babies.

The new charts recommended by the WHO are based on average weight gain of 8,000 'healthy' European children raised in 'optimal conditions' and exclusively breastfed. They are designed to provide a new guide as to the rate at which babies should put on weight rather than how the majority currently do. The difference between the current and proposed charts show over 1lb difference in what they consider to be a healthy weight for a one year old baby.

The WHO have been campaigning to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding for some time now because of the benefits to infant development it provides. They hope that by introducing these new growth charts fewer mothers will resort to supplementing or replacing breast milk with formula because they believe their baby's aren't gaining sufficient weight.

The research has shown that although breastfed babies gain weight quickly in the first few weeks of life, this slows and they gradually become leaner than their bottle fed counterparts. This doesn't mean that they aren't thriving, as breast milk has been linked to lower risk childhood illness and reduced incidences of disease and obesity in later life.

As infancy is the only time where diet can be completely controlled and tailored for optimum nutrition this study and associated recommendations highlight just how fragile this balance can be. The researchers are now following the children studied through to school age to see whether this high-protein formula associated weight gain has any definite long term impact on infant health.

If this is found to be the case lets hope that more information is provided about optimum weight gain for both bottle and breast fed babies so that parents can really make an informed choice when deciding what's best for their little one.

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I'm glad they are doing this. The current growth charts do tend to put one under pressure.
My baby moved from 75 percentile to under 50 percentile as per thse charts in a matter of 6 weeks.
by baby2005 1st Jul 2009, 9:05am
Out dated growth charts are still considered the standard in infant growth, despite the fact that previous studies are based mainly on formulla fed children who were also introduced to solids prior to 4 months of age. I have nursed both of my kids and still continue to do so through my I did with my last pregnancy. All of my doctors advised me not to nurse while pregnant and that when my infant was born to stop nursing my oldest as not to deprive the infant from nourishment. With both of my children I have come across strong opposition to nursing from their pediatrician. I have been given formula, practically forced to stop nursing, and told my children were too small and needed to be fed more. When I mentioned to the pediatrician that his growth chart was like comparing apples and oranges because it did not represent breast fed babies, he snapped at me that "it's simple mom, she needs to eat more." Just to make things clear, both my daughters tripled their birth weight by their first birthday. It saddens me to hear that other moms have had this same experience and have questioned their own abilities as mothers. I am currently compiling all the data I can on breast fed infant charts and information on these outdated studies, which I might add show a direct correlation with formula fed infants and childhood diabetes and obesity, to send to my ex-pediatrician so he and his partners can get a clue. Anyone know any good, supportive pediatricians in calvert county?
by stmarygirl 4th Jun 2009, 9:11am
my little girl is 5 weeks old and weighed 5-8 at birth and at 3 weeks weighed 7-11 and now weighs about 9lbs, has anyone else experienced such weight gain? and her cord still hasnt come off???
by reldred 10th Nov 2008, 9:51am
Please keep in mind that girls and boys are measured on different growth charts because they grow in different patterns and at different rates.
by sparges 20th Mar 2008, 8:38am
When I first had Billy (10 months ago) The growth chart in his yellow healthbook really scared me! He was breastfeed exclusive for 6 months and with formula and breast between 7-8 months because I wasnt producing enough, he has now gone back to breast just for feeding before bed mainly. He gainned masses of weight in the first few months, but now as hes getting older and mobile its slowing down a bit, hes now 19lbs (birth weight was 7lb 8) but accoring to his growth chart hes below average - I try not to worry about it, but when u see something writen down saying your baby should be such and such a weight i dont think you can help it! But then on the other hand, hes very healthy, certainly doesnt starve! so i prob have no need to worry! I do think these charts should be revised - am i the only one who panics? lol
by BillyAaronsMum 5th Mar 2008, 8:48am
My daughter is almost 7mths she sits up in her chair and when she sits on your knee but if i sit her on the floor she falls sideways, when do babies sit up on there own, we've bought her a chair with a straight back to see if that helps, whats the average age of babies to sit up on there own any tips
by dec 28th Jan 2008, 6:15pm