Skip to Main Content Health Care Professionals Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Search

Healthy Growth & Development

As your baby grows it is important to assess for signs of overall growth and development. Tools like the LookSee Checklist (formerly NDDS) and the WHO Growth Charts for Canada are often used. The LookSee Checklist is a free checklist that can help assess a child’s progress and provide tips and activities to encourage reaching developmental milestones.

Sign up for free online or ask a Public Health Nurse for more information. The information below is intended for healthy, full-term infants.

Look at your Baby

On a day-to-day basis look for:

  • A gently rounded tummy.
  • Bright eyes and alertness.
  • Spend time skin-to-skin with your baby. This encourages attachment and feeding.

Feed your baby

  •  Watch for hunger cues/signs of fullness.
  • Expect the baby to eat small amounts, often.
  •  In the first few weeks, breastfed babies eat 8-12 times per 24 hours; formula fed
    babies eat 6-10 times per 24 hours.


  • Should be pale yellow and odourless.
  • Diapers heavy or soaking after 5 days

Bowel Movements

  • 0-Day 2: Meconium Stools—black to dark green tarry stools in small amounts
  • Day 3-4: Transitional Stools—black to green in increasing amounts
  • Day 5 onward: Breastmilk Stools—yellow, soft and seedy in larger amounts

Some babies go for several days without a bowel movement. Watch for signs of discomfort and contact your healthcare provider if necessary

Baby’s Age 

First 3-4 months (After initial weight loss in the first 3 days)

3-6 months

6-12 months

Avg. Weight Gain

(in ounces)

1oz per day (range of 5-7 oz per week

4oz per week (range of 3-5oz per week)

2oz per week

Avg. Weight Gain

(in pounds)

Just over 1lb per month

1lb per month

1/2 lb per month

Newborn infants

  • Most babies lose weight in the first 3 days after birth. A weight loss of 7% is common; up to 10% is within the normal range.
  • Weight gain/loss may be impacted if the mom received IV fluids during labour or feeding is not well established.
  • Most babies start to gain weight by day 5 and return to birth weight by 2 weeks.
  • Breastfeed babies tend to grow faster than non-breastfed babies in the first 6 months of life and more slowly in the second 6 months.
  • Non-breastfed babies tend to grow faster in the second 6 months of life

Typical pattern of length

  • Length is a more reliable indicator of baby growth than weight, however, it is more difficult to measure accurately.
  •  0-6 months about 1 inch/ 2.5 cm per month
  • • 7-12 months about ½ inch/ 1.25 cm per month

Head circumference

  • The first year is a time of very rapid brain growth and therefore head growth
  • At age 18 months the brain has reached 75% of adult size.
  • Head circumference is usually done by a healthcare provider at baby visits.

Your baby should have regular well-baby visits with a healthcare provider. You can ask questions and have your baby weighed/measured during these visits:

  • 1-2 weeks

  • 1 month (optional)

  • 2 months

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 9 months (optional)

  • 12 months

  • 18 months

  • 24 months

Once per year after 2 years of age


Related Resources