Our purpose was to examine postnatal growth in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants (n = 54). A high frequency of intrauterine growth retardation was noted that was corrected by plotting birth weight against crown-heel length and not gestational age. No differences in postnatal growth were noted between infants whose size was appropriate for gestational age (n = 37) and those small for gestational age (n = 17). Overall, growth tended to exceed that previously published. Weight but not length or head gain was less in the smaller (< or = 1,000 g) when compared to the larger (> 1,000 g) VLBW infant. Poorer weight gain could not be related to more "illness" or less nutrient intake in the smaller infants.