infant weight loss and weight gain and when you need to worry

New parents often spend a considerable amount of time worrying about their infants weight loss and weight gain. Are they getting enough milk to grow, have they lost too much weight? So, here are the quick facts about infant weight loss and weight gain.

Newborn weight loss

Initial weight loss

It is normal for a baby to lose weight after birth. On average, they will lose between 5 – 7% of their birth weight in the first 3 – 5 days of life. Any more than 10% and it is unlikely the hospital will discharge your little one as it may be a sign of a problem. Don’t panic, this may be something as simple as poor latching, which can be corrected. If you are at home, make sure you speak with your caregiver about the weight loss.

Regain of initial weight loss 

Most breastfed babies will regain the initial weight loss. This may take anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks. This steady weight gain is a sign that your baby is getting enough milk for their needs. If your baby has not regained the initial weight loss after 2 weeks, you should contact your caregiver.

Continued weight gain

Once your baby has regained their initial weight, they will continue to put on weight. This is a sign of effective feeding.  Between 2 weeks and 6 weeks, a breastfed baby should gain approximately 34 g per day for a girl and 40 g per day for a boy.

A breastfed baby will grow quickly in the first 2 to 3 months and then slow down.  A formula feed baby grows at a more rapid rate to breastfeed babies from 3 months onwards.

What is the standard?

The World Health Organisation undertook an updated study in 2006 and published new child growth standard charts. You can find these charts here.

Please note that if you have a printed chart from WHO – it should be dated post-2006. A chart pre that year was based on an old study that didn’t account for discrepancies in ethnicity, method of feeding or socio-economic group.

Breastfeeding can be difficult. Check out our article to be prepared.

Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, or motherhood. Find out more useful information on related topics click on the Blog button below.

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