Posts Tagged ‘breastfed baby’

Percentiles, Explained

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Percentiles, ExplainedIf you’ve taken your little one to a well-child checkup, you’ve probably heard the numbers. In fact, you might be more motivated to know the numbers than your pediatrician. In the many ways we concern ourselves with our children’s development and milestones, growth percentiles are among the most tangible. “We’re in the 90th percentile,” your friend touts. You might feel anything from disappointment in your child’s growth to annoyance at your friend’s pride. Take a deep breath and let those feelings go, because that is not what the growth chart is about.

Percentiles provide comparison of typical growth, not for the sake of comparison so much as to ensure your child’s general well-being. If your child is in the 50th percentile for height, among 100 children about fifty would be taller and fifty shorter than your child. Height and weight measurements continue through the years of adolescence, while doctors only monitor head circumference for the first three years of life when development is so rapid. Observing head circumference allows doctors to assess adequate brain development in a child and rule out any concerns if little or excess growth occurs.

Two common charts come from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO growth standards utilize 6 countries in the world that provide “optimal growth” environments for children ages 0 to 59 months. The six countries include: Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman, and the United States. This means that, among other things, both mothers and babies studied met the minimum international nutrition recommendations for optimal health. The project was funded by a combination of governments, United Nations agencies, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

WHO more fully represents growth standards associated with breast-fed children compared to the CDC. Even the CDC says its own charts lack some of the methodological standard that WHO utilizes. CDC uses small sample sizes in the first 6 months of life compared to WHO’s frequent evaluations over time (longitudinally) of a more representative population. The CDC’s charts were updated in 2000 to better represent America’s diversity.

The bottom line is WHO growth standards more fully incorporate breast-fed children in their growth curves and have more accurate data in the early months. WHO also more fully represents a global perspective on “optimal” growth as opposed to simply a comparison of typical growth in the United States. This could matter for a family who has a healthy but lower birth weight child or a child who is exclusively breast fed beyond the more typical 0-6 months in the United States.

Ultimately, you know your child best. Your child’s individual curve is most important. If your child has always stayed in the 25th percentile, your child’s smaller stature is not necessarily concerning. If your child was always in the 75th percentile and, in the last year, has fallen to the 25th percentile, your doctor might be concerned about why your child has not continued to grow as is typically (or optimally) expected. Even still, a small dip or jump here and there can be typical as children hit growth spurts, have illnesses, and picky habits at different times. Genes, the environment, nutrition, and activity can affect your child’s growth.

Growth charts offer a clinical impression of a child’s growth at any given age, but if used wisely, they also provide room for the nuances of every individual child’s unique story.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Overnight Cloth Diaper Solutions

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Love your cloth diapers during the day, but having trouble with them leaking overnight? This is a common dilemma for cloth diapering families; waking up in a pool of pee is definitely NOT fun…especially for co-sleeping families!  But be assured there are some awesome overnight cloth diapering solutions.

Keep in mind that a newborn breastfed baby will often poop at night for the first several weeks or even months, necessitating diaper changes through the night. However once you get through that phase and your baby is no longer pooping at night, you don’t necessarily need to change him/her during the night. Of course this assumes you have found an effective overnight cloth diapering system. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error to figure out what will work as an overnight cloth diaper for your wee one. Here are two easy solutions we have found effective:

Doublers – Doublers are basically inserts or liners that you add to your cloth diapering system for extra absorbency. Doublers are specially designed to be thin yet super- duper absorbent. However if you already have a wide variety of inserts in your stash, you could simply use a regular insert or two to double up for extra night-time protection. The result may be a super bulky diaper but with dry jammies in the morning (albeit you might need to go up a size in jammies to accommodate all that bulk).

Wool Covers You all know how much I love wool and cannot say enough good things about it. I honestly think wool covers make THE BEST overnight diapers. When my second son was an itty bitty baby, I would often put a pair of longies (basically wool pants) on him over his pocket diaper for overnights. Obviously most of the time you would not use any kind of cover over a pocket diaper but this was our bulletproof night time solution for a while…mostly because I was eager to skip night time diaper changes as early as possible. Now I know wool is pricey BUT the awesome thing about wool is you can use it over and over again before needing to wash it; thus you can easily get by with just a few wool covers in your stash (particularly if you are using them primarily as your overnight diaper).

What is your bulletproof overnight cloth diaper? Would love to hear what works for other mamas!