Tracking an infant’s weight can assure parents and health care professionals that a baby is getting the nutrition and stimulation he needs to grow at a steady pace. Doctors use growth charts to make sure that an infant’s height, weight and head circumference are within normal ranges. However, it's important to remember that all babies are different and yours might grow faster or slower than his peers at times.
Significance of Growth Charts
A growth chart indicates the average, below-average and above-average weight of a baby at any given age, including 7 months. It usually is best if an infant's weight is consistently on or slightly above or below average, but this is not always the case. At each well-child checkup, your doctor charts your baby's growth in percentiles compared with her peers. This lets your doctor see that your baby is growing at a steady pace.
Several factors contribute to an infant’s weight at 7 months. According to the website KidsHealth, genetics, gender, nutrition, physical activity, health problems, environment and hormones influence the growth of an infant. By 7 months of age, an infant might be sitting up and even crawling a bit. This type of physical activity can increase the number of calories he is burning and possibly increase his appetite. Also, if a 7-month-old baby was born prematurely, he might have started his life below average in weight. Some premature babies catch up quickly while others, especially those with health problems due to being preterm, can take longer to catch up.
Identifying an ideal weight for a 7-month-old usually means identifying a desirable range. According to KidsHealth, babies come in many different shapes and sizes, and if your baby is in the 5th percentile for weight, that does not mean she is any less healthy than a baby in the 50th or 95th percentile. What is important is that she follow the same pattern of growth. For example, a baby girl who is born in the 50th percentile and jumps up to the 60th percentile at her 1-month well-baby checkup ideally would be around the 60th percentile at following checkups. During the first six months of life, an infant gains about 1.5 to 2 pounds a month, according to KidsHealth. At around 6 months, the weight gain can slow to 1 to 1.25 pounds a month.
An average 7-pound newborn could weigh about 17 to 18 pounds at the end of the seventh month, according to KidsGrowth. The 50th percentile weight at 7 months is 17 pounds for a girl and 18.5 pounds for a boy.
There might be cause for concern if your baby bounces from one percentile to another or steadily drops or increases. A slight decrease or increase throughout the year usually is normal, but a significant change can indicate a problem. It also could be a problem if your baby is gaining weight but not getting any taller, according to KidsHealth. However, if your baby consistently measures in a high or low percentile, it could just mean that he is larger or smaller than average because of genetics, gender and other factors.