Your Baby's Failure to Thrive Could Be Your Doctor's Fault

baby weightAsk a mom how her new baby is doing, and she's sure to rattle off a series of numbers: baby's weight at birth, baby's weight now, and so on. But a new study claims the way doctors use a baby's weight to determine health may have a major flaw.

It turns out those growth charts doctors use to tell a mom if her infant is at risk of health complications don't take into account the ethnicity of a baby. Considering genetics play a major role in our body size -- just ask the kid of a 5'3" mom who topped at 5'4" -- the one-size fits all approach to baby weights just doesn't work.

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When doctors at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto looked at a million babies, they found 16 percent of the babies of Asian immigrants were considered too small for their age based on Western charts. But when those same babies were compared to health charts of babies in Asian countries, 6 percent were perfectly fine!

And before you write this off as a Canadian problem, it turns out similar studies of the US charts have found the same issue.

What's the big deal? Doctors put a lot of stock in weights because they help determine how a baby is thriving. Babies considered "too small" are often kept in the NICU, but that could be completely unnecessary and delay mom/baby bonding.

Not to mention the added stress on new parents. Just ask any mom who has gone to the pediatrician and been told her baby is "failing to thrive" how it feels to see the numbers on that scale!

But if this study tells us anything, it's that our babies are all different, and the way doctors approach them should be too. So next time your doctor warns you that your baby's weight is a problem, ask if they've taken your family's background into consideration. It could take a major load off your mind.

How big was your baby at birth? Where did he fall on the charts?

 

Image © iStock.com/vasina

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