Best Way to Keep Records for Your Baby’s Development

From the time he is born until he starts school, all aspects of your child’s health development will be checked regularly. Keeping records is important to ensure that your baby is progressing well; it also provides a useful history of your baby’s well-being. You, your health visitor, and your GP can record everything to do with your baby’s health and development in his Child Health Development Book.

Growth charts

At every check, including the six to nine month review, your GP or health visitor will note your baby’s weight, height, and head circumference and record the results on a centile chart in his baby development book.

Baby’s Development1 Best Way to Keep Records for Your Baby’s Development

These graphs, based on statistics, show the rate at which your baby is growing. There is a separate chart for girls and boys – usually pink for girls, and blue for boys! – and in each chart the middle line marks what is called the 50th percentile. This means that if you take 100 babies, 50 will be heavier and taller than the 50th line (above it) and 50 will be lighter and smaller (below it).

Plotting the measurements

Your baby’s height will be plotted on one centile chart and his length on another; all you or your health visitor has to do is find the age of your baby in months at the bottom of the chart, and his length or weight in centi­metres or inches on the left-hand side of the chart The spot where the age and length or weight meet is marked with a cross. Each cross is then joined up to make a curve.

What to expect

As long as your baby’s chart shows that he is growing steadily, there is nothing to worry about. Most babies are on the same percentile for both their weight and height, and stay roughly on the same percentile during their first year, although there will be small fluctuations, These fluctuations are nothing to worry about – babies can have periods of rapid growth and then slow down again for a while. Centile charts are just guidelines, and it is the general pattern over several months that is important.

Only significant changes are cause for concern – if, for example, your baby’s weight starts to fall into the lower or climb into the higher percentiles, or if there is a wide discrepancy between length and weight.

Medical history

Keeping a record of your baby’s illnesses and particular treatments is useful if your GP needs to know anything about his medical history. Faced with a sick baby, most parents feel anxious and may find it hard to rely purely on memory. Any notes you have to hand to give your GP will help him with important information, such as which childhood illnesses your baby has already had, if he is prone to certain kinds of illnesses, and whether he has ever suffered an allergic reaction to a certain type of medication.

Baby’s Development 1 Best Way to Keep Records for Your Baby’s Development

Details of illness

If there is no space in your baby’s Child Health Development Book, keep your records in a separate notebook. Include:

  •    the date when your baby became unwell
  •    the date when he recovered
  •    what his symptoms were
  •    when you went to see or called your GP
  •    what the diagnosis was
  •    what instructions your GP gave you
  •    what medication was prescribed and for how long
  •   if there were any side-effects from the medication.

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