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Is My Baby Growing Normally?

Is My Baby Growing Normally?

Just as all babies have their own personalities, they also have their own growth rates. 
Children born into families with large parents tend to start off bigger and grow quicker. Some newborns weigh more, such as those of diabetic mothers, or less, including those born premature. As long as a child is given sufficient love and food, most will do just fine.

Because of their small stomachs, in the first two months, infants will need frequent small feedings, every two to three hours based on their willingness to feed. According to “Kids Health” from Nemours, around age four months, iron-fortified cereal or puréed meats can be introduced.  
Young children should avoid sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as these drinks decrease the appetite for more nutritious items. By one year of age, a child can pretty much eat anything served to adults, including fruits, vegetables and meats. 
Until adolescence, growth during childhood is uneven, with occasional bursts of growth. Like weeds, children tend to grow faster in the springtime. Your physician will keep track of this growth, which should follow a normal and regular curve on a growth chart. If the growth drops too low on the child’s chart, the physician may be concerned about ailure to Thrive TT.
Symptoms of FTT include a baby not reaching developmental milestones, such as not being able to say three words by age one. Other signs are: irritability, excessive sleepiness and behavior difficulties. Some of these symptoms may go unnoticed, so keeping track of weight change on charts is important.   
Many factors can result in a child not keeping up expected growth rates. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, not drinking or eating enough calories is the most common cause of FTT. It is possible, though, that a child may also have problems with properly USING the calories.  
According to John Hopkins University, some of the diseases associated with FTT include: celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis or cerebral palsy. 
Although diseases can be involved, according to the Jordan Institute for Families, the majority of FTT cases are due to caretaker neglect. Some parents are simply not as educated as they should be about proper feeding and nutrition in babies and young children.

It is important to remember, parents, that just because a child is small does not mean he or she has FTT. Many an adult remembers growing up as the runt of the class, only to sprout during adolescence. It’s more about the overall patterns of a child’s growth than about his or her actual size.
Give your child plenty of love, plenty of good food, and regular doctor check-ups, and proper growth will probably never be an issue of concern.

Philip L. Levin, M.D. is a Coast-based physician and writer. He is president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and is the author of numerous award-winning stories and poems, many nonfiction articles, and eight published books, including two children’s books.

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