Yesterday I posted news from the latest CDC breastfeeding study, saying that fewer than half of moms in the U.S. breastfeed for the recommended amount of time. In it, I brought up the question of weight charts, because I think one of the reasons moms supplement with formula is that when a baby’s weight seems to drop, both doctor and mom get worried. But the height and weight charts used by many pediatricians are based on a population of primarily formula fed infants.
What a coincidence! One of our readers tipped me off to the fact that just last Friday, the CDC made an official recommendation that all pediatricians shift to using the World Health Organization’s growth charts for babies 0-24 months. See the user-friendly height and weight chart below.
Breastfed babies grow differently, says the CDC. In the first three months, they gain more compared to their formula-fed counterparts, but they naturally weigh less than formula-fed babies between months 3-18. A breastfed baby who looks to be dropping in weight and raising a red flag for a doctor (using an outdated chart as many do) could look just fine on the WHO chart.
What makes the WHO chart a better standard?
The WHO gathered data on an international sample of babies growing under conditions considered “optimal for growth,” including being breastfed for at least 12 months, whereas the older chart from the CDC measured a non-ethnically diverse population of primarily formula fed babies.
Switching to these new charts will boost all babies up in the percentiles–for some it will provide relief that their baby isn’t too lean, but it will also push more babies and toddlers into the overweight category too.
Here is the WHO growth chart for boys 0-24 months
Here is the WHO growth chart for girls 0-25 months
Image: Flickr/Nerrisa’s ring
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