Is my child growing normally?

Everyone is different, so it is impossible to define “normal” for any one individual. You may notice your child is not growing as you might have expected. Or, by tracking growth on a growth chart, your doctor may detect a slowdown in your child’s growth rate. Together, you and your health care provider can determine what normal growth might look like for your child.

Generally speaking, most children grow about 4 inches per year between ages 1 and 4, and about 2–2.75 inches per year from ages 4–8. To put it another way, a child who is growing normally will generally reach certain milestones over the months and years:

  • Outgrowing clothes and shoes

  • Losing "baby" teeth
    and getting "adult" teeth

  • Progressing along the
    doctor's growth chart

A few basics about growth.

Why is growth important? A child’s growth is much more than just how tall he or she is, or how tall they are compared to their friends. Growth can be an important indicator of overall health and physical development. If your child is not growing as he or she should be, it can signal a possible medical condition.

How can I tell if my child is growing enough? Make sure that your child is measured at least once per year, and that you understand his or her percentile. Make a note about whether it’s changed since previous measurements. If you have concerns about your child’s growth, talk to their doctor.

How do children grow? Growth has two main components: genes and hormones. Height is mostly determined by genes, which is why a person’s adult height tends to fall within the range of other family members’. Hormones, which are chemical messengers produced in the glands, send signals throughout the body, telling it to perform certain tasks—like “grow.”

What is growth deficiency?

“Deficiency” simply means a shortage, or not enough. So, the general term “growth deficiency” refers to lack of growth. In some cases, lack of growth is not related to your child’s health. For other children, the cause may be a disease, genetic syndrome, or growth hormone deficiency.

See Types of Growth Disorders

When should I take action?

The bottom line is, if there are any issues with your child’s growth, talk to your doctor. A prompt referral to a specialist may offer the best chance for the appropriate diagnosis and treatment. That’s why it’s important to find out as soon as possible. The sooner your doctor knows what’s happening, the sooner you can start working on it—together.

Talking to Your Doctor
doctor with two children

What should parents know about growth hormone?

While slower growth can be caused by a number of problems (such as emotional stress, poor nutrition, or disease), it may be that the child’s body is not making enough growth hormone.

As the name suggests, growth hormone is the hormone responsible for making a child grow. It is produced by the body in the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, just behind the nose in the center of the head.

From about 6 months of age and throughout childhood, growth hormone is a critical factor in a child’s growth.

If, after examining your child, a pediatric endocrinologist determines your child’s growth patterns are unusual, he or she may choose Norditropin® to help your child grow and develop.

Diagnosing Growth Disorders
family portrait