Grow, Baby, Grow
There are many ways that your baby will change:
- Physical growth: weight, height, head size, etc. More specific information about physical change is below.
- Language development: from crying to communicate their needs to first words, your baby's language will explode during the first year.
- Cognitive growth: your baby is always thinking and learning! Cognitive growth is the ability for babies to make sense of the world around them and interact with people and other things in their environment.
- Social and emotional development: your baby will develop the skills to respond to you and others (i.e. first smiles, “talking” to you, etc.) as well as the ability to form relationships (attachment and trust).
- Motor development: your baby will acquire and work to control both gross (large) motor and fine (small) motor skills. Examples of motor development include your baby's ability to grasp an item, roll over, sit, pull up, and eventually take those first steps!
As you venture through your baby's first year, chances are you will have multiple visits to your pediatrician so that he or she can monitor your baby's development. Each visit will most likely include measurement of your baby (length), weighing of the baby, measuring head circumference, as well as checking your baby's vitals (heart, eyes, ears, etc.).
During a visit, your pediatrician may share with you a growth chart. This growth chart is a standard chart that is used to compare infants of the same age. The chart shows what the physical characteristics (height, weight, head circumference) of a baby are of the same age. Of course, many, many babies will be below this norm and some will be above the norm. Doctors will be looking for consistent growth (i.e. your baby is consistently in the 60% in terms of growth, meaning you baby is 10% larger than the norm of other babies of the same age). Doctors will be watching to see if growth patterns change dramatically from one visit to the next (i.e. a baby was 60% and dropped to 30%).
The links below can be used to document the measurements for your baby's physical growth.
- Boys length-for-age and weight-for-age
- Boys head circumference and weight-for-length percentile
- Girls length-for-age and weight-for-age
- Girls head circumference and weight-for-length percentile
These growth charts are standardized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics.
Babies…they sure do grow a lot in that first year. Some may say they grow like weeds! Lucky for you, they are a lot cuter and a lot more fun!