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New Growth Curves for Breastfed Babies

If your doctor has told you that your baby is falling off her growth curve and needs more to eat - the first thing you need to do is make sure they're looking at the right growth curve.

Breastfed babies follow a different growth curve than formula-fed babies - they tend to be slightly larger in the first two months, then sometime around four months, their growth slows significantly. Hmmm, wonder if this is connected to the fact that formula-fed babies have a higher risk of becoming overweight later in life....  You see, the current growth charts are based on a population of formula-fed babies, and breastfed babies are seen as "underweight" by comparison. But in reality, if breastfeeding is taken as the norm, are all those formula-fed babies really overweight?

The new growth curves have recently been made available by the WHO and CDC - there is a nice summary of their findings here with a few charts that can be copied and printed out. The WHO charts were developed using only exclusively breastfed babies, and have only released preliminary findings so far. In 2000, the CDC released new growth charts that reflect the proportion of breastfed babies in the overall population, and they can be downloaded from this website. The CDC charts do include formula-fed babies, so will not be as useful for exclusively breastfed babies, but will reflect growth patterns closer to normal (i.e. - not formula-fed) than the previous charts.

 

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