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Thread: For Anyone Concerned About Percentiles

  1. #1

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    Default For Anyone Concerned About Percentiles

    ... so tonight I was talking to my mate's very cool mum in the pub who now has two grown-up kids and is a well-respected sociologist.

    So I hadn't seen her since having my 7 month old DD and we got talking about my BF experience and I gave her the full, rotten story about how I put so much pressure on myself and was beside myself when the midwives started going nuttso about weight loss and percentiles etc.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to relay a story she told me that may reassure anyone who, like me, got a little obsessed with charts and percentiles. She said her DD was always tiny - way under 5% percentile so by the time she was two years old and not eating very much they were a little concerned. Especially, as academics, they put much trust in science and charts and norms etc. etc.

    So off they go to a specialist who tells them that they can do a bone scan which will basically tell them whether their daughter is healthy and what height she will ultimately turn out to be. The results came in. They showed that their DD was healthy and not to worry and she was going to be around 4 foot 8 to 5 foot.

    Anyhow, once their diminutive DD hit puberty she apparently shot up and is now around 5"8, so confounding both the percentile charts AND the bone scan.

    Just wanted to share incase there's anyone out there worried about charts.


  2. #2

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    Thanks for sharing fionas, I agree we put too much pressure on ourselves, babies have been surviving long before charts came along.

  3. #3

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    Charts? What are they?

    ETA: Actually - I'll add to my post LOL - when we were in hospital with Kayla being prem, everything was scheduled and charted and I had to keep reminding myself that once we're out of the hospital we won't be worrying about all this! Timed feeds, strict weight gains etc etc etc. I can only imagine the pressure of CHN's constantly sticking to those horrible charts and the effect it must have on new mums. I say 'imagine' because as a rule I don't go to CHN's LOL - haven't found one that tells me what I want to hear

  4. #4

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    The thing that reeeeally annoys me about growth charts is this.
    They are based on American children.
    Formula Fed.
    In the 1970's.

    That's where the data for the growth charts that we use today came from.

    The WHO has published revised percentile charts recently that reflect the growth curve for breastfed children:
    WHO | Weight-for-age

    Even if your bub is not breastfed these charts are still more reflective of normal weight gain than the ones that are in your baby health record book.

    That said I hate growth charts and I don't even know how much either of my kids weigh They're happy and active and engage with me and their dad so I'm happy

  5. #5

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    Tobily - I just compared those charts on the WHO site with what's in my blue book - and the WHO's weights are higher than the blue books! Shouldn't they be lower?

    eg.. Girls at 6 months

    Blue Book (CDC)
    50th percentile is 7.2kg
    97th percentile is 8.8kg

    WHO charts
    50th percentile is 7.6kg
    97th percentile is 9.4kg

    pfft - just goes to show not to go by ANY charts! LOL.

    ETA: ok... am having an obviously boring night to be doing this.. but anyhoo LOL...

    Found this on the CDC website
    Are these charts appropriate for exclusively breast-fed babies?

    The 2000 CDC growth charts can be used to assess the growth of exclusively breast-fed infants, however when interpreting the growth pattern one must take into account that mode of infant feeding can influence infant growth. In general, exclusively breast-fed infants tend to gain weight more rapidly in the first 2 to 3 months. From 6 to 12 months breast-fed infants tend to weigh less than formula-fed infants.
    So I then looked at the charts again at 12 months this time

    Blue Book (CDC)
    50th percentile is 9.5kg
    97th percentile is 11.8kg

    WHO charts
    50th percentile is 9kg
    97th percentile is 11.4kg

    So yep - seems the WHO charts do reflect it better Interesting tho.. I didn't know that breastfed babies put on more weight in the early months. So I've learnt something new today! But surely knowing this would put more pressure on mums struggling with breastfeeding? coz these charts have higher weights in those early months.

    *sigh* I reckon scrap the charts.. and just be sure there's some kind of weight gain and a happy, weeing, pooing baby LOL.

    Ok.. think I'll go to bed now. LOL.

  6. #6

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    I'm not worried about where Ash is along the chart just as long as it didn't drop dramatically. Ash is pretty much in 25% for weight and has been roughly all along but if she suddenly dropped to like 5% then I may be concerned about the chart.

  7. #7

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    My mum was telling me a story a few weeks ago about when she had my sister.
    My sister was a small baby, small child and is small as an adult.
    When she was growing up, the dr's would insist that my mum wasn't feeding her enough because she was so small. When she was 11 months old, they put her in hospital insisting she was under nourished, and the whole week she was in hospital, she didn't gain weight. She simply was just a small baby. She wasn't sick or anything, just small. They eventually agreed that my mum was taking good care of her and was sent home with mum.

    I've never worried too much about the charts either. In fact my dr hates them. When it's time for Nina to have a check-up or immunistation, he'll weigh her, check her out etc, but he won't compare it to the charts. He's a dr, who's had 2 children, he knows if she is well or not. So do I.
    Mothers instinct is best, I think.

  8. #8

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    I think the charts are unhelpful the other way too - when your bubba is big. DS is 8.2kg at 13 weeks (so he doesn't even fit on the charts - he is beyond the 97th percentile). I'm breastfeeding him (and only as he demands - usually 3-4 hours) - but everyone keeps telling me how BIG he is.

    Liz - I didn't realise that breastfed bubbas put on weight more quickly either! (on the WHO chart he *almost* fits on the 97th percentile )

  9. #9

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    Ill admit im one of them mums thats is constantly worried about these damn charts, more so with Jasmine then Chelsea, as Jas is always off the charts for everything. I dont mind her head and length, but weight is an issue for me.

    Jodi when you said:
    When she was growing up, the dr's would insist that my mum wasn't feeding her enough because she was so small
    It bought back memories for me. When Chelsea had her 6 month check-up with the MCHN, she hadn?t gained much weight in the 8 weeks since the last weigh in. I told the nurse that we hadn?t started on solids as yet but Chelsea was drinking 220ml bottles 4 time a day and her sleeping was an issue. The nurse turned around and told me I must be doing it all wrong and she said, You must be starving her, oh Chelsea, is mummy starving you?? I cried all the way home believing I had been starving her.

  10. #10

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    Yep I don't worry about the charts. With Paris we saw Paed's and everything because she was "underweight" as the Paed said to me the chart doesn't mean anything providing they are following their own pattern. Graph's are more important than numbers compared with other numbers With Seth the MCHN started to get a bit funny as Seth was following a similar pattern to his sister. So I stopped going. I wasn't going to be made to feel bad especially when I was breastfeeding the second time round and I didn't want ANYONE meddling with that. Funnily thought two babies fed differently both followed the exact same pattern. So I guess that blows the theory of swapping to formula to get babies to be "healthier" (ie. gain more weight).

  11. #11

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    Liz, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused buy the differences in the charts, I noticed it too that the WHO charts were higher. I plot A's weight on both charts whenever we got to the MCHN, which is rare anyway, and he has this gorgeous curve on them - no way is he a world beater in the weight department, but he's just consistent and happy to do his own thing.

  12. #12

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    I agree - it's the graph not the numbers.. Nice smooth curve is what we want

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