Why are pediatricians so interested in the weight and height of a child during the first year?
In neonatal and early pregnancy periods, clear signs to determine the child is healthy or will be healthy are not always apparent. One of the most common determinants of health in a child is not just the apparent psychomotor development, but rather information that the child is doing well, i.e. is gaining weight and growing. Information about growth in height and increase in weight in the first months of life is essential for pediatricians. The mere fact a child is not gaining weight can be a clear sign that the child is suffering from some disease. It is wrong for a pediatrician not to weigh and measure the child.
With relation to baby growth spurts, a common point of discussion revolves around insufficient growth. It is important to note that during certain periods in the first year of life, the child requires an increased intake of food. A growth spurt often goes hand in hand with breast-feeding crisis (i.e. a state lasting for a couple of days, where a breastfeeding woman has less milk than the child needs). For example, if the mother is fully lactating at certain points of development (approximately the third and sixth week as well as the third and sixth month), she can feel that the baby does not have enough milk, because the baby appears to be hungry at all times and is unhappy. Before choosing to provide supplementary nutrition, the mother should question whether the baby is not currently undergoing a growth spurt. A breastfeeding mother is always able to provide the baby with enough nutrition. When a growth spurt begins – three, four days – and the mother overcomes the baby’s unhappy state, the mother’s organism adjusts itself and accommodates for the higher intake needs of the baby.
If the mother does not cope well, it is best to discuss the situation with a breast-feeding specialist to discuss possible growth spurt symptoms to limit any possible stress.
This text was prepared by lead pediatrician of Canadian Medical Care, MUDr. Silvie Knoppová.
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