Step 5

Help your baby grow steadily

When babies grow steadily in their first year, they’re more likely to be a healthy weight by the time they start school

They’ll normally lose a small amount of weight in the first few days after they’re born. This is nothing to worry about and they’ll put it back on quickly. If they don’t, your midwife or health visitor can help.

After the first few weeks, your baby should gain weight more steadily – with the odd dip or growth spurt. They will usually put on weight more quickly in the first six to nine months. It slows down once your baby moves around more.

How do I help my baby grow steadily?

  • Track your baby’s weight in the ‘red book’

    Your health visitor will weigh and measure your baby. They will plot their growth on a chart in your Personal Child Health Record. This is often called the ‘red book’, because the cover is red. This will help you see how your child is growing. If they’re underweight or overweight, your health visitor will be able to help. Find out more about your baby’s weight and height.

  • Stop feeding when your baby’s had enough

    Breastfed babies will always take the amount of milk they need. But if you’re using formula or introducing solid foods, you’ll need to learn to recognise when your baby’s full and stop feeding. It’s okay if they don’t finish their bottle or food.

  • When your baby’s ready for solid foods, keep it healthy

    Until they’re six months old, all your baby needs is milk. But once they’re ready for solids, offer them healthy food with lots of different tastes and textures. Try to include your baby in family mealtimes, and eat the same healthy foods, prepared without salt or sugar. Healthy doesn’t mean low-fat for babies and young children. Fat is an important source of calories and some vitamins. It’s better for babies and young children under two to have full-fat yoghurt and cheese, rather than low-fat varieties.  Children can drink cow’s milk, full-fat is best, from one year.

    Find out more about weaning

    Find out more on Step 4

  • Match the portion to the person

    Between six and 12 months, your baby’s stomach is still very small. They may not need as much food as you think. It’s healthier to give them a portion that’s right for their size, and then give them more if they’re still hungry. The Eating Well Recipe Book  will help you match the portion size to your baby’s age.

  • Encourage your baby to be active

    Babies love to move around. Give your baby ‘tummy time’ every day, and let them move, kick and crawl around in a safe area.