Officials have admitted that growth charts issued by the Department of Health, which are used by health visitors and doctors to ensure your baby is thriving, are incorrect.
The growth charts are based on bottlefed babies, who are heavier than breastfed babies. This has meant parents of healthy breastfed babies have been told their babies are “failing to thrive” and need to gain weight. As a result, parents may have been overfeeding their babies, and there are concerns about the babies’ future health. Experts worry about a generation of obese children, with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
“They created this culture which said if your baby is not big, fat, bonny and bouncing it is a sickly baby. And the result is that we now have an obesity epidemic,” Tam Fry of the Child Growth Foundation has said. Mr Fry made reference to studies that have shown the speed of growth in the first six months of a baby’s life is a marker for later obesity.
Tam Fry also stated, “A lot of mums, encouraged by health professionals, have effectively been force-feeding their babies.”
The Child Growth Foundation raised concerns over the growth charts in 2002.
New growth charts, which correct the problem, are set to roll out on May 11. These will be included in the Infant Health Record ‘red books’ that all of us new mums receive.
Are you confused over how much weight your baby should be gaining? Let us know…