See How They Grow

Baby Myth, Predictions, Expectations

Big Baby Myth

Q: Does a baby's size at birth offer any clues into what he'll look like as an adult?

A. No. In utero size is determined by how well the mom eats, as well as by the health of the placenta. That's why a petite woman can give birth to a ten-pound infant.

But once those babies are out of the womb, all bets are off. Big newborns who defied genetic odds will likely drop a couple of curves on the growth chart -- say from the 75th to the 25th percentile. It's also not unusual for small or average-size babies whose parents are big to grow rapidly and gain percentiles in the first two years of life. To get a fix on your how big your child will be, look at the pattern he establishes after he turns 2.

How to Predict Adult Height

  • In boys: Add five inches to the mother's height, and keep the father's height constant. For example, a boy born to a mother who is 5'3" and a father who is 6'2" will likely grow to between 5'8" and 6'2".
  • In girls: Subtract five inches from the father's height and keep the mother's height constant. The daughter of the couple above would grow to between 5'3" and 5'9".

Growth Spurts

Children grow in fits and starts. Here's a look at what to expect.

  • 0-12 Mos. Most moms notice times when their babies just can't seem to get enough to eat. Increased hunger is the usual sign of a growth spurt. During the first year, there are plenty of them. Expect a lot of growth at 10 days to 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. By age 1, a typical baby will have tripled her birth weight and grown ten inches.
  • 1 Year Growth slows a bit, but your baby will add an average of four to five inches and gain about a half pound per month.
  • 2 Years Expect your toddler to grow three to four inches and gain three to four pounds. By the time they turn 3, most kids have grown to about 50 percent of their ultimate adult height. But soon the rapid pace of growth will slow down and become more subdued until puberty.
  • 3 Years By the end of this year, your child will add another two to three inches, doubling his birth length.
  • 4-10 Years Your child should grow about two inches and gain about six pounds per year. Some kids may experience a small spurt between 6 and 8 years.
  • Puberty Puberty in girls usually begins between ages 8 and 13. She'll grow two to ten inches and gain 15 to 55 pounds before reaching her final adult size. Puberty in boys starts between ages 10 and 15. He'll grow anywhere from four to 12 inches and gain 15 to 65 pounds.

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