Here you’ll find important information and answers to common questions regarding your child’s growth and physical development:
Typical infant growth
During the first year growth is typically assessed by measuring weight gain. (See our section on infant weight gain.) From about two weeks to 4 months, your baby will grow very quickly, gaining up to an ounce a day. (Greene, 2009) After that, their growth slows slightly but continues at a rapid pace. By his or her first birthday, the typical child will have grown ten inches in height and their head will have swelled by 4 inches. They’ll have also roughly tripled their birth weight.
I had a big baby – does this mean I’ll have an oversized kid?
It’s true that a child’s birth weight can foreshadow their future, but probably not in the ways parents might expect. Generally speaking, having a large baby is simply a sign that everything went well during pregnancy. Once he or she is out of the womb, genetics and environmental influences take over. Big babies can grow into petite little girls, and undersize babies can become hefty boys.
In fact, it’s typically preemies or those babies born underweight who are at increased risk of becoming obese and facing future health problems, since being underweight can mess with a baby’s internal metabolism and organ functioning. For example, those babies born weighing over 8.8 pounds have a 4% chance of developing heart disease as adults. Those born 5 1/2 pounds or less: 15%. (Szabo, 7-1-2009) So unless a baby has supersize parents or a large birth weight was the result of gestational diabetes, a child’s size at birth is typically completely unrelated to their future growth.
When will my baby’s umbilical cord fall off?
Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will typically fall off between one and three weeks after birth.
How common are birthmarks?
Approximately 50% of babies will be born with some kind of birthmark. So if your baby has one, don’t feel too conscious about it.