Every parent experiences a great pleasure watching how their baby grows day by day, and, of course, tries to provide the child with everything necessary for healthy growth and harmonious development. As a mother, you know that nutrition plays a key role in the process of newborn weight gain. But how to understand if your baby is gaining weight correctly?
Factors Influencing Baby Weight
All babies are different. However, the concept of the norm of the weight of a newborn does exist. The normal body weight of a healthy child at birth is 2,700–3,700 g. The weight of a baby depends on a number of factors.
- Gender. Boys tend to outnumber the more fragile girls in weight at birth.
- Heredity. Obviously, high, heavy parents will have larger children than a miniature young mother and father of medium build.
- The diet of a mom during pregnancy. Often, when a woman has a high-calorie diet, the fetus gains more weight before birth.
- The physical and psychological state of the mother during pregnancy. Stress and illness, of course, affect the health and, as a result, the weight of the baby.
- Mom’s bad habits – smoking, alcohol, etc. In this context, the weight of the child also depends entirely on the baby’s health.
Infant Weight after Birth
You need to be prepared for the fact that in the first days of life the baby will lose some weight – around 6–10% of the initial birth weight. This is easily explained by the fact that the baby is experiencing stress. He/she needs time to adapt to the new conditions of life. Mom at this time should get lactation on the right track. At first, small portions of colostrum will be enough for the newborn, since the baby’s stomach is very small.
Weight gain in infants is a consequence of various reasons.
- State of health. When the baby is sick, he eats worse.
- Type of feeding. Babies on artificial feeding gain weight faster than breastfed babies.
- The quality and quantity of breast milk (when breastfeeding).
- The mobility of the child. Active kids are more fit than lazy ones.
- Diet. When feeding “on-demand” weight is gained faster than while feeding “by the hour.”
- Age. In the first months, babies grow faster, and gradual weight gain slows down.
Newborn Weight Gain Month by Month
The baby develops more intensively and increases body weight in the first 3 months. In the first month, the child gains about 600 g, in the second and third – 800 g. Then every month he gains 50 g less in weight than in the previous ones. But keep in mind that only a pediatrician can objectively evaluate the development of a baby.
Conditionally, by six months of age, the baby doubles his initial weight twice, and by the year – three times. However, each child has his/her own individual pace of development. The rate of newborn weight gain mostly depends on the constitutional features of the infant. For example, a large child will gain weight at a slightly different pace than a baby who has a lower birth rate.
In the second half of the year, the pace of weight gain decreases. This happens due to the fact that the child becomes more active: he no longer simply lies in the crib, but actively turns over, crawls, sits down, gets up, and starts walking. By the year the weight of the child should triple compared with the original weight.
Weighing the Baby
Some mothers very carefully watch over how the baby is gaining weight. They are ready to weigh their baby daily, almost after each feeding, believing that with each meal the weight should increase. However, it is not worth spending time on it. The weight of the child, like height, increases unevenly. There is no such thing as a child gaining average grams daily. Over time, the mother will notice that there are periods when the weight is stable or increases slightly, and then suddenly there is a sharp jump.
To control your newborn weight gain, it is enough to weigh the child once a week, preferably in the same clothes. There are two types of scales for weighing children: mechanical and electronic. Today, electronic scales are more convenient to use – they are lightweight, compact, and mobile. Some models automatically take into account and subtract the weight of the diaper, “remember” the previous weight figures, can show the dynamics of weight changes, and even measure height. If it is not possible to purchase scales, you can get by with the monthly measurement of weight in the children’s clinic.
Deviations from the Norm: Is it Worth Worrying?
Very often there are deviations from the above-mentioned averages. This is too small or unnecessarily large weight gain, which is also bad. In addition to possible diseases of the baby, the causes of such deviations may be as follows:
- Every baby is different in physiology, and they all grow differently: one is a little faster, and the other one is a little slower.
- The rate of weight gain for all newborns of greater height is usually greater. So, if for a baby whose initial height was 52 cm, an increase of 170 grams is considered normal, then for a child with an initial height of 58 cm, a norm is 210 grams.
- It often happens that boys gain weight faster than girls.
- With artificial nutrition, babies get weight faster.
And many other reasons, which are different in each case, and it is possible to identify them only with an individual approach. And only after identifying these reasons one can give an exact answer to whether parents should be worried about this and whether there is a need to take urgent measures. In any case, the indicators of the norms of newborn weight gain are average and approximate, and you should not take them for the ideal. And if you have doubts about the growth of the child, it is best to pass tests and consult experts.
How do Pediatricians Evaluate Weight Gain?
Experts estimate the increase in weight in accordance with the growth parameters using special tables for newborn weight gain, taking into account many parameters of the baby. Keep in mind that only a pediatrician can competently assess the development of a child. Based on the physical and neuropsychic development of the infant, including indicators of weight gain and growth parameters, the doctor evaluates the overall development of the body.
Each baby is individual and does not necessarily develop strictly according to the norms. In addition, low weight does not always mean problems in the development of the baby. Consider, for example, heredity: if the baby was small at birth, but he feels quite well and consistently gains weight (albeit less, but regularly), then there is nothing to worry about.
Consider the General Condition of the Child
There is no need to worry about the lack of weight if the child is active, his skin is in good condition, he does not look thin or pale, and does not get sick.
Pay Attention to the Feeding Mode
Often, an inadequate weight gain for a baby in the first weeks of life is associated with a non-established feeding regime. If you have concerns that your baby does not have enough breast milk or formula, weigh your child before and after feeding, write down the indicators and consult your doctor. If it turns out that the child does not have enough nutrition, then the doctor will tell you about the existing methods of increasing lactation. Sometimes a doctor may prescribe feeding with formula or introduce complementary foods. Remember: this can be done only after the appropriate recommendation of the doctor. If your baby is bottle-fed, the pediatrician may suggest increasing the dose or changing the formula.
Do Not Avoid the Introduction of Complimentary Foods!
Although the baby may refuse to eat in the first days, because he does not like the taste of new products, there is no need to worry and refuse to introduce complementary foods. Consistently and calmly offer your baby complimentary food every day and you will succeed. Remember: complementary foods, selected in accordance with the age of the baby, are necessary for the harmonious growth and development of the child.
Consult a Pediatrician
In addition to the above reasons, the slow pace of newborn weight gain can be triggered by some diseases – in this case, you should contact your pediatrician for diagnosis and recommendations.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.