The use of the old charts has meant that breastfed babies have often been classed as underweight, when actually they were growing at a normal and healthy weight for a breastfed baby. Such feedback on their babies weight gain can be highly damaging to a woman’s confidence in her own ability to breastfeed and has often led to unnecessary guidance to supplement or “top-up” with artificial milk. We are delighted that babies will be measured against their natural weight gain rate rather than an artificial one.
Real Baby Milk also welcomes the removal of the bold 50th percentile lines in these charts, as it had become a widely held misconception that the 50th centile was the average weight for a baby leaving parents (and some Health Professionals) treating any deviance form that line as abnormal. Now that this line is no longer emphasised we hope that mums and health professionals will begin to understand that it is normal for babies to be on other percentile lines.
The weight charts now also begin at 2 weeks old The Royal College of Paedtratrics and Child Health explain the removal of the first fortnight as follows;
“Most babies lose some weight and then regain it during the 2 weeks after birth, and growth patterns vary widely during this time; the growth chart cannot show this. Your baby’s weight at about 2 weeks of age should be compared with their birth weight.”
Much training and awareness is needed around these new charts for them to be fully understood and used well, but you can begin by following the links to the information below.
UNICEF press release here
New Charts can be downloaded here and a useful parents guide.