Many Singaporean parents are concerned about their child’s size, particularly their height and weight. If you, too, are wondering if your child is the right size for their age, we’re here to address some of your concerns.
We spoke to Ms Jo-Ann Kua, the Nutritionist at Kinderland Singapore, for some answers to this all-too-common question: is your child of the right size?
Is Your Child of the Right Size?
How can parents tell if their child is of the right height and weight? Is there a difference between boys and girls?
To gauge if your child is of the right size, a starting point is to check the growth charts published by the Health Promotion Board. As long as a child stays within the growth curve, he or she is fine. But if the weight drops too much or is off the charts, it is advised to seek professional help.
A healthy range is for a child to grow four to six centimetres a year. You can monitor this growth at home. Or, in some preschools, the teachers track height growth once every quarter and closely monitor a child’s eating habits.
Generally, there is not much of a difference in growth rate between boys and girls until puberty starts at around 10. Children usually remain in the same growth percentile over the years, indicating a normal individual growth rate.
Normal Baby Weight
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One of the important things about knowing if your child is of the right size is knowing about normal baby weight. You can refer to our article about the Newborn Baby Weight Chart in Singapore.
Normal baby weight or the average weight of a baby in Singapore is between 5.5 pounds and 9 pounds. The average birth weight of a baby is 7 pounds and 8 ounces.
A healthy baby should weigh at least 6 pounds and 12 ounces at birth, but there may be variations based on factors like height or ethnicity.
Factors That Affect Baby Weight at Birth
The weight of a baby at birth is a matter of great interest to both parents and doctors. The saying goes, “the bigger, the better,” but how much does a baby weigh?
Most babies are born with a normal weight range, but some factors can affect this range. You need to understand these factors when you ask yourself if your child is of the right size.
The most common factor is maternal weight gain during pregnancy and overall health. If you’re overweight or obese before getting pregnant, your doctor may recommend that you gain less weight than other women of average size. The same goes for underweight women: they may be advised to gain more than normal.
Another factor that affects baby weight at birth is the size of the mother’s pelvis. If it’s small, it may be more difficult for the baby to pass through it during delivery. Your doctor will assess your pelvis when determining what kind of delivery is best for you and your baby; this could mean that an elective caesarean section would be safer than vaginal birth.
Finally, certain medical conditions may affect how much your child weighs at birth; these include gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy), preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), and other conditions affecting mothers.
How to Ensure a Normal Weight for Newborn Baby
You’re probably already aware that a healthy baby is born at an appropriate weight. A newborn’s weight is determined by how much they weigh in grams, measured in kilograms.
So, is your child of the right size? Here are several ways to ensure your baby’s weight is normal:
- First, you should make sure you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water during pregnancy.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy because these habits can cause birth defects or other problems in newborns.
- Make sure your doctor takes your weight every month so that she can monitor any changes in your body weight and your baby’s growth and development.
- If you have any concerns about the health of your child, contact your doctor immediately for advice on how to proceed with treatment options available at home or in hospital care centres near you.
Maximum Baby Weight for Normal Delivery
What is a normal weight of a newborn baby? And what is the normal baby weight at birth?
When you’re pregnant, you’ll hear a lot of numbers. Sometimes it causes anxiety, thinking if your child is of the right size. You’ll see them on the scale, your blood pressure readings, and your doctor’s reports. But some numbers are more important than others—so it’s good to know what they mean!
One of those numbers is your maximum baby weight for normal delivery. That’s right: when you’re expecting, your doctor will know the most weight your baby can weigh at birth without complicating things for you or your baby.
What Factors Determine Height and Weight in a Child?
Height growth is determined by genetic potential, and weight gain is highly correlated to lifestyle patterns. Is your child of the right size? Check these factors. The body mass index (BMI) is a good indicator to assess growth over time.
If a Child Is Underweight, What Can Parents Do?
If a child’s weight is below the normal range, parents may bring their child to the paediatrician/family GP and dietician for professional consultation on improving weight gain.
You’ll be advised on a plan incorporating food and exercise to help your child. There are also some preschools where teachers regularly monitor meal intake and weight gain of underweight children and update parents on the child’s progress and weight improvement.
If a Child Is Overweight, What Can Parents Do?
The first step is to observe if the overweight child is overeating and ascertain why. Some possible reasons include:
- Too much hunger: Erratic mealtimes can build up hunger, leading to food-seeking behaviour and overeating.
- Emotions management: When a child is soothed with food, he/she learns to comfort him/herself with food as a comfort mechanism over time.
- Overly restricted food environment: Children whose food choices are tightly controlled tend to develop food-seeking behaviour and overeat when the adults are not around to monitor.
A tip is to give a small portion for the first serving, and when a child asks for more, top up with more food, but only once. Monitor the overall food intake to prevent overeating.
Make sure your child’s preschool is also aware of your child’s needs. For example, at Kinderland, their in-house nutritionists strictly plan the menu to ensure that children get the necessary nutrients daily. They make it a conscious effort to keep the portion provided for each child within the national recommended serving size.
Should Parents Be Worried if a Child Is Too Short for Their Age?
First, it is important to find out the root cause. Given that height growth is influenced by various factors, including genetics and nutrition, it is not accurate to peg a child’s growth by comparing him/her with peers of the same age.
Parents are encouraged to track a child’s growth once every quarter and closely monitor his/her eating habits. A healthy range is for a child to grow 4 to 6 cm a year.
A child diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency can be treated with artificial human growth hormones administered by medical professionals. However, growth hormone therapy is highly controversial as it does not work for everyone.
In addition to the high cost, growth hormone therapy has short-term side effects, including water retention, leg swelling and headaches. It can also increase the risks of scoliosis and diabetes.
Are Vitamin Supplements for Kids Formulated to Increase Weight and Height Safe?
Vitamin supplements are not subjected to pre-market approval by the Health Sciences Authority (Singapore). It is best to buy supplements from authorised distributors who comply with the guidelines for health supplements set out by the authority.
Vitamin supplements are not necessary for children who get a balanced diet daily. Children who are picky eaters, have severe allergies or are on a special diet, such as a vegetarian, may need vitamin supplements to supply adequate daily required nutrient intake to supplement their restricted diet.
When taking vitamin supplements, it is key to adhere to the recommended dosage to prevent overdose, as different vitamins have different toxicity levels.
Ultimately, foods are the best source of nutrients. A balanced diet with a variety of fresh, wholesome and unprocessed food consists of all essential food groups: whole grains, lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, which can provide all the required nutrients for children. Good eating habits in children from a young.
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How Can Kids Safely and Naturally Reach Their Optimum Height and a Good Weight?
Here are three simple tips to boost your child’s growth naturally:
- Sleep: Adequate sleep is needed for the growth hormones to develop and recharge. As a rule of thumb, children between the age of three to five should clock 11 to 13 hours of sleep. Children between the age of five to ten will require 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night.
- Nutrition: Getting the right nutrition can maximise your child’s ability to grow. A well-balanced diet includes a sufficient amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. These can be obtained through meat, fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise: Physical activities contribute to a child’s growth and development. Sports and exercises stimulate muscle development and stronger bones whilst fighting obesity.
Tips for Eating Well
- Start the day right with breakfast: It is important to form the habit of eating a good breakfast from a young age.
- Healthy snacks: Children may feel like nibbling at some point. Parents can opt for healthier options such as baked nuts and unsweetened yoghurt to prevent them from snacking on foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.
- Drinking more water: Sugar drinks should be kept to a minimum. Parents should help their children form a habit of making water their drink of choice, which is easier to accomplish from a young age.
- Eating slowly: A child takes an average of 20 minutes to feel complete. They must learn to slow down and chew their food properly during this time. Eating slowly is a good tip for controlling weight.
Adults must know how to assess a child’s growth to detect obesity or undernutrition earlier. We also need to be cognizant that genetics play a role in a child’s physique.
Most importantly, more attention should be given to children’s proper food intake (nutrition) and good lifestyle habits (physically active and adequate sleep). A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle will help our children grow better and healthier.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.