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Matern Child Nutr. 2005 Apr;1(2):63-76.

Weight monitoring of breastfed babies in the UK - centile charts, scales and weighing frequency.

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  • 1Department of Midwifery Studies, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.


Weighing infants during their first 6 months is an important focus of growth monitoring and a common activity of child health care services worldwide. In these same months, health workers provide support for breastfeeding and promote continued exclusive breastfeeding. The literature on the practice of weighing breastfed babies is reviewed, as it applies to the United Kingdom. The shape of the growth curves for breastfed babies differs from that of formula-fed infants and also from centile charts previously in use. The World Health Organization commitment to the production of a new growth reference has generated discussion of the implications of charts in use. The country-specific charts in use in the UK are examined and the data used to construct them discussed with reference to clinical use for breastfed infants. Recent UK discussions on charts, as well as on the frequency of routine weighing for babies in the community are considered, and the available evidence on the accuracy of weighing in practice is noted. The choices made in constructing different charts; the physical condition of scales and their use in practice have implications for plotted growth. This paper aims to present a wide range of evidence available in this area in order to encourage debate on practice. A companion paper will discuss issues of interpretation, conveying information to parents, and interventions.

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