Growth and development

Growth may be rapid during infancy; your paediatrician is able to monitor and assess your child’s growth in terms of height, weight and head circumference. These measurements are then plotted on the growth chart to help monitor changes in growth over time and to see whether or not your child is meeting growth standards for their age. Keeping track of growth and development milestones help us assess children’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing as they grow up.

Growth is divided into four stages/periods, namely:

  • Gold StarInfancy to 2 years of age
  • Gold StarPreschool years (2-6 years)
  • Gold StarMiddle childhood years (7-10 years)
  • Gold StarAdolescence (11-20 years)

Growth and development don’t only include the physical changes that occur from infancy to adolescence but also includes changes in emotions, personality, behaviour, thinking and speech that children develop as they begin to understand and interact with the people around them. Skills such as taking the first step or smiling for the first time are called developmental milestones. Children reach developmental milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act and move, and they meet these milestones at their own pace. Developmental milestones help parents get a general idea and understand the changes to expect as their children grow. Developmental milestones are categorised by the following:

  • Gold StarDressing skills
  • Gold StarGrooming skills
  • Gold StarFine motor and visual motor skills
  • Gold StarSpeech and language

What to expect during your consultation?

Growth, development and nutrition are interrelated; Dr Noxolo Nsele pays close attention to these aspects during your child’s paediatric wellness visits. As a paediatrician, she works tirelessly to ensure that a proper nutritional diet is being followed and assists in food and related dietary concerns during the infancy, toddler and middle childhood stages. These dietary concerns may include breastfeeding, adequate feeding, proper nutrition, introduction to cow's milk, and start feeding solid foods, as well as weaning. Dr Nsele may address eating habits and dietary needs of each age, fussy eating behaviours and dealing with food allergies. She aims to offer comprehensive care and advice during these growth and development consultations.


Are all children measured on one growth chart?

No, girls and boys are measured on separate growth charts because they grow in different patterns and at different paces. Special growth charts may be used for children diagnosed with certain medical conditions such as Down Syndrome or babies who were born early.

What could signal a problem?

Monitoring and assessing the growth chart may help identify any potential growth issues. The paediatrician will look out for patterns such as:

  • Gold StarWhen a child's weight or height percentile changes from a pattern, it's been following.
  • Gold StarIf a child’s height growth is very different from what is expected by his/her mid parental height calculation.
  • Gold StarIf there is an abnormally low or high body mass index (BMI).
Why is early intervention essential?

Early intervention helps prevent the progression of a medical condition and helps improve outcomes for children, families and communities.

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When should my child see a Paediatrician

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Visits with your paediatrician should begin as soon as your child is born. This allows you to become familiar with your child’s doctor, and also allows your child’s health to be monitored from an early age.

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