Baby Length Measurement DIY

By July 14, 2019Tools

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.