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Warren Eaton

Size Matters

By Tools

Does Baby Size Matter?

You know that your baby’s growth is important. It’s a sign of general health, which is why it’s monitored by nurses and doctors. Growth that is too fast or too slow can be a sign of health problems.

The value of tracking growth is widely accepted. But what should you measure? How should you measure?

The Big 3 of Size

There are many possible aspects of growth to measure. Three are basic: Weight, length, and head circumference. The World Health Organization uses these core features of baby size worldwide.

Weight

Weight is the feature of growth we think of first. Other than gender, a baby’s weight may be the most mentioned feature of a newborn. Scales are common, so weight is the most widely used size measurement.

Length

Length is also familiar. It’s similar to height, but babies can’t stand. For this reason, infants and toddlers under 2 years are measured while they are lying down. Length is the distance from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. It is more difficult to measure than weight. Babies squirm and avoid straightening their legs.

Head Circumference

Head circumference is the baby’s hat size, the distance around the skull. It’s less familiar as an aspect of size. It’s important because the brain grows most in size before two years. The brain is covered by the skull, so the size of the skull reflects brain growth.

Measurement DIY

You can measure each of the Big 3. Want to know how? You will need the help of another adult and some household items. For details, follow these links for each of the Big 3:

Baby Weight Measurement DIY

By Tools

How to Measure Your Baby’s Weight

Put them on a scale, right?  Well, no.  Unless you have a scale designed for weights under 15kg (30 lbs).  Bathroom scales are designed for the weights of adults, adolescents, and older children.  You can bypass this problem by using the subtraction method.

Hold your baby and take a reading.  Then hand Baby to someone else and take a second reading.  The difference will be a good estimate of your baby’s weight.

The following video illustrates the procedure.

Measuring Baby Weight from Warren Eaton on Vimeo.

Compare your baby’s weight to world norms

Now that you have the subtraction weight result, compare your baby’s weight to norms developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO collected size measurements from 8,440 children in 6 countries from various regions of the world.  These children were were not raised in environments with poor diets.  They were healthy and their mothers followed health practices such as breastfeeding and not smoking during and after pregnancy.

The WHO’s weight norms have separate charts for boys and girls.

If you have measured your baby in pounds, you’ll first need to convert from pounds to kilograms to use the chart.  Just divide your pounds’ result by 2.2 to get your baby’s weight in kilograms.

Do not treat the percentile result like a school grade.  A higher percentile is not better than a lower percentile.

Why the name Kidtogeny?

By Education

Why the name Kidtogeny?

The name Kidtogeny is odd and hard to spell, right?  What was I thinking?  Well, it’s not as crazy as it looks.

I created it from two other words, kid and ontogeny.

Kidtogeny name tag
Of course you know the word kid, but what’s the deal with ontogeny?  It’s defined as the development of an individual organism. Put the two together, and you have a unique word about kids’ development.

If you like math, Kidtogeny = Kid + (ontogeny – on).  It’s easy to pronounce when you know it’s kid + togeny because you know to break between d and t.

Why bother to create a new word?

I needed a unique address for my website, and no one had taken Kidtogeny.  I liked its uniqueness, and its additive meaning is just right.

There are tools for helping you watch for child and baby milestones.  Check them out.

Baby Head Measurement DIY

By Tools

Baby head measurement is tricky

Baby head measurement is one of 3 key measurements when it comes to monitoring baby and child growth. The distance around a person’s head is known as their head circumference.  Head circumference in infancy is particular important because it is related to the growth of the brain.

It’s not easy to measure head circumference.  Imagine measuring the distance around a volleyball with a tape or string.  You’ll get it right if you can do so at the equator of the ball. If your string slides up or down, your reading will be too low.

A person’s head is more difficult to measure than a ball because a head is lumpy and far from spherical.  Exactly where should you put the tape or string?  Measuring a baby can be even harder because they are apt to move and push the string away.  Never fear, here’s how to do it.

Supplies

  • Non-stretchable lace or piece of string that is at least 1 m (1 yard) long;
  • measuring tape, yard stick, or a meter stick;
  • paper and pencil;
  • helper (this is a 2-person job);
  • and, most crucially, a baby.

Step-by-step instructions

First, make sure that your baby has no items on his or her head that may interfere with the measurements, such as braids, barrettes, or ribbons.

Review the following video and record the length measurement in centimetres or inches on the paper.  If possible, record fractional parts of your unit of measurement.

Have your partner take their own reading — without knowing yours.  Compare the two readings.  It is likely that they differ.  If so, calculate the average of the two (an average is more reliable than either single reading).

Compare your baby’s head size to world norms

Now that you have your baby’s length, compare it to norms developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO collected size measurements from 8,440 children in 6 countries from various regions of the world.  These children were were not raised in environments with poor diets.  They were healthy and their mothers followed health practices such as breastfeeding and not smoking during and after pregnancy.

The WHO’s head size norms have separate charts for boys and girls so be careful to select the right one.

If you have measured your baby in inches, you’ll first need to convert from inches to centimetres to inches use the chart.  Just multiply your inches’ result by 2.54 to get your baby’s size in centimetres.

Healthy babies can differ greatly in head size, and head circumference percentiles are a numerical way of describing them.  Do not treat the percentile result like a school grade.  A higher percentile is not better than a lower percentile.

Many factors can influence your baby’s head size.  For example, a baby born prematurely will have a smaller head size at 1 month of age than will a baby who was born a week after the due date.

However, an extremely small (<3%) or large (>97%) percentile may be a sign of developmental difficulty.  If this is the case for your baby, you should consult a health care professional.

 

Baby Length Measurement DIY

By Tools

Baby length measurement is tricky

One very important measure of baby size is length.  Baby length measurement is the distance from the top of the head to the soles of the feet while the baby is lying on their back on a flat surface.  Later, after they’re 2 years old, it’s much easier because they can be measured when standing.

Babies are very poor at following instructions.  They won’t stand against a wall or hold still when you want them to.  When they’re very young they can hardly straighten their legs.

Moreover, most households don’t have the tools like those found in some doctor’s offices.  However, it is possible to measure baby length with simple household equipment.

Needed Supplies

  • Paper and pencil;
  • Fine-point marker;
  • 2 cardboard cereal boxes (sealed or completely empty);
  • light-colored, non-stretchable lace or piece of string that is at least 1 m (1 yard) long;
  • measuring tape, yard stick, or a meter stick;
  • helper (this is a 2-person job);
  • floor space beside a wall;
  • and, most crucially, a baby.

Video instructions

Measuring Baby Length from Warren Eaton on Vimeo.

Compare your baby’s length to world norms

Now that you have your baby’s length, compare it to norms developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO collected size measurements from 8,440 children in 6 countries from various regions of the world.  These children were were not raised in environments with poor diets.  They were healthy and their mothers followed health practices such as breastfeeding and not smoking during and after pregnancy.

The WHO’s length norms have separate charts for boys and girls so be careful to select the right one.

If you have measured your baby in inches, you’ll first need to convert from inches to centimetres to inches use the chart.  Just multiply your inches’ result by 2.54 to get your baby’s length in centimetres.

Do not treat the percentile result like a school grade.  A higher percentile is not better than a lower percentile.

About infant milestones

By Education

What are they?

The term milestone was a name for early roadside stone markers.  Travelers could see how far it was to the next town.  Called mileposts or milestones, these stones displayed the distance in miles.  The ideas of location and distance can apply both to roads and to development.   For development, the location is not a town but the event of birth, and distance is not measured in miles, but in time — weeks, months, or years of age.  An infant milestone marks the distance is the time between birth and some other event.

Firsts are important

Developmentally, milestone implies travel is in one direction and away from birth.  This is how chronological age is understood.  There is no going back — except in time-travel movies and books.  Milestone has a narrower meaning than chronological age.  A milestone generally refers to the first time that a new developmental feature appears. For example, taking one’s first steps is reached the walking milestone.  You may walk unassisted many times thereafter.  The milestone is that first occurrence.

Milestones can be easily missed

There are many firsts for a child, but only some get referred to as milestones.  Why?  Partly it is a matter of how noticeable an achievement is. Rolling over is hard to miss, so it appears on nearly every list of milestones.  On the other hand, rocking back and forth on hands and knees is rarely noted because it is more subtle.  A knowledgeable observer will notice more milestones than an untrained observer will.  The more you know about infant milestones, the more you’ll notice about your baby’s development.

Very common, but not universal

The term milestones used to be reserved for events that were deemed ‘universal’ and experienced by everyone.  In truth, most developmental events are not experienced by absolutely everyone. For example, the most babies use hands-and-knees crawling, but not all do.  Milestones are better considered as those developmental events that are very common, not necessarily universal. Crawling certainly counts as a milestone if we use this less rigid criterion.

The bigger story

Lastly, many milestones are developmentally important.  Walking, for example, dramatically increases one’s mobility.  Other milestones don’t have such obvious importance.  Even so, they matter.  Rocking back and forth on hands and knees is subtle.  Reaching such a milestone is a building block for a later achievement, learning to crawl.  Learning to crawl, in turn, helps develop balance. Balance enables walking.

Summary

Infant milestones are near-universal age-related events. They signal important change and growth in a baby’s life.