During the first 12 months of life, a baby goes through periods of rapid growth. MedlinePlus explains that well-child checkups are most frequent during this first year to monitor a baby's growth to make sure she is on track with standard measurements, including weight. Not every baby will grow exactly the same, but growth charts are used to identify when an infant is above or below the average weight, height and various other physical development measurements.
Where the Weigh-In Is
Weighing and measuring a baby frequently during the first year of life allows health care providers to identify any growth or development problems right away. Periodic well-baby checkups are considered preventive care, states MedlinePlus. In addition to tracking the baby's weight, the health professional can advise parents on other developmental changes they will see in the coming weeks or months before the next appointment.
A health care professional will have a scale that is accurate to perform the baby's weight measurement. In addition to the weight the head circumference and height will be taken and charted. The medical professional will compare the current measurements to previous measurements, as well as average growth charts. The doctor will keep the chart in your baby's medical file, and will give you a copy of the measurements to take home. On the chart will be a baseline, considered the average development of a baby of the same weight as well as the previous measurements.
When an infant fails to meet the average weight at each well-baby checkup or seems to stop growing at the same steady rate, the health care professional will have evidence that perhaps the baby is not developing appropriately. The chart is divided into percentiles with the average weight being the 50th percentile. A baby can fall into any one of the percentiles ranging from first to 100th. Being slightly under or slightly over the 50th percentile is generally considered to be acceptable.
Weight of a 12-Month Old
By the first birthday a baby will have nearly tripled their birth weight according to KidsHealth.org. This number is typically around 22 pounds for girls and 23 pounds for boys. The pace of growth is is rapid during the first six months, but it tends to slow down during the last half. KidsHealth also points out that it is acceptable for a baby to remain below the 50th percentile as long as he continues to progress and remain in this range. For example, if the baby falls in the 30th percentile at the three-month, six-month and nine-month well-baby checkups, then he is progressing adequately. If he continues to drop from this range, the health care professional will investigate this as a potential health concern.
Babies tend to sit up and become mobile after the sixth month of life, which contributes a slow down in weight gain toward the end of the first year, states KidsHealth.org. Some babies have been introduced to baby foods, also called solids, and cow's milk around the first birthday. Baby nutrition can become more complicated for parents around this time due to the baby no longer getting all of the nutrients from formula or breast milk. When a baby is below the guidelines in weight, a health care professional may assess her diet and make recommendations for increasing the child's weight.
It isn't necessary to worry about a child being overweight or underweight when she falls slightly outside the recommended range of weight around the first birthday. Some babies will catch up within a few months and other babies, such as those who are not yet walking at 12-months, may weigh a little more until they become more physically active.