After talking this over with my husband (the most vociferous male supporter of nursing I’ve ever come across), I decided to check the facts once again. Here is what I found.
The Israeli Ministry of Health uses growth charts developed by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2000. These charts were developed following observations of both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Based on these charts, my baby, who was born in the 25th percentile, dropped to the 3rd percentile by the age of one (this means that she weighs less than 97% of babies of her age).
However, in 2006 the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced new charts, reflecting the suggested development of breastfed babies. More recently, UK health authorities used WHO data to develop their own charts for nursing babies. The revised charts show that breastfed babies tend to gain weight fast in the early months, then taper off in their growth.
On WHO’s charts, my baby is in the 15th percentile, gaining significantly after her dip at the age of 6 months. Combine that with her steady growth in height and normal development and the picture becomes all that less worrisome.
What I’d like to know is how is it possible for a pediatric dietitian not to be aware of this information released over three years ago and widely available in both English and Hebrew. Furthermore, even if the Ministry of Health doesn’t deem it necessary to update the charts the way the Brits have done, why doesn’t it, at the very least, inform practitioners (including Mother and Child Care – Tipat Chalav nurses) of these new standards?
As for us, we’ll continue to monitor our daughter’s growth. I have another appointment with the dietitian next month with printed charts ready and waiting for her perusal.
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