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Your Baby’s Weight Gain - How to Know What to Expect


After your baby has arrived, and you’ve been officially introduced, your baby will have his/her very first doctor's exam. This is when you will get the chance to hear just how much your baby weighs. From this point on, your baby's weight will be one of the indicators of a healthy baby, and for this reason it can be the cause of some anxiety for parents. When you are looking at your baby’s weight measurements, it’s important to keep a few things in mind, so you know when to be concerned. 

At Birth

Babies who are born at full term (37-40 weeks) usually weigh between 5.5 pounds and 9.8 pounds. The most common newborn weight is about 7.7 pounds. If your baby is over or under those weights, they may be taken for some extra tests and observation to evaluate for any medical issues, but it doesn’t always mean something is wrong.

The First Month

Your baby will be weighed a few times in the first 48 hours of life. You will notice a drop in his/her weight during this time. Babies can drop as much as 10% of their birth weight, since they arrive with extra fluid. As they drop that extra fluid, their weight drops as well. A newborn should be back up to birth weight within the first two weeks of their lives. You can expect that your little one will gain about 1 to 2 pounds in the first month. If there is a concern about your baby’s birth weight and/or rate of loss/gain, you may be asked to come in to the doctor for weight checks. 

What Feedings Should Look Like

If you are breastfeeding: To start, you should be feeding your newborn every few hours. When you feed them, you will want to be sure to keep them on one side for ten minutes, burp your baby, then switch to the other for another ten minutes. Make sure to start on the side you left off on during the previous feeding. In the first few days, it can be a challenge to keep your little one awake for a feeding, and you should remember that your

As you and your little one get the hang of things and your milk comes in, you may be able to go a little longer in between feedings, but make sure they are nursing at least eight to 12 times each day. Your breasts should feel lighter after a feeding. If they feel hard and/or heavy, your baby may not be draining them. Try these tips to help increase your breast milk supply.

If you are bottle feeding: Your baby will eat an average of 1.5-3 ounces of formula every 2-3 hours. This should increase as your little one gets older. They also may hit growth spurts, during which they will eat a little more then normal, but may drop back down. Give your baby about half of the bottle, then stop to burp them.     

6 Good Questions To Ask Yourself

It can be easy to obsess over your baby’s feedings and weight, since it is one of the most important indicators of your little one’s health. Instead, ask yourself a few questions to check in and see if you need to be concerned.

1. Is My Baby Having Wet/Poopy Diapers Regularly?

By about a week old, your little one should have six-eight wet diapers and at least a few poopy diapers a day. As your baby gets older, you will see the number of diapers decrease to around four to five. A newborn should have a yellow/seedy colored poop (after they've passed the tar-like meconium). Breastfed babies will have a poop that is a more liquid in consistency, while formula fed babies' will be a little thicker. If anything seems off with your little one’s diapers, give the doctor a call.   

2. Does My Baby Seem Satisfied After a Feeding? 

When you are done feeding your baby, whether from the breast or a bottle, your baby should seem settled and content. If your baby seems restless, fussy, or like s/he is in pain, you should give your doctor a call.  

3. Does My Baby Seem Listless and Extra Sleepy?

If you are having a hard time waking your baby for feedings and s/he starts to show signs of being extra sleepy all the time, go ahead and check in with your doctor.  

4. How Is My Baby's Color? 

Make sure your little one has a healthy color to his/her skin. If they appear abnormally pale, or you see any yellowing of their skin or whites of their eyes, give your doctor a call.  

5. Is My Baby Showing Consistent Growth?  

You may be at the doctor and hear that your baby is in the fifth percentile for their weight or height, or maybe you have heard that your little one is in the 90th percentile – but what does that all mean? Should you be concerned? 

The growth chart gives doctors an indication on how your child is growing compared to other children of the same age, but more importantly, it helps them keep an eye on whether your baby is showing consistent growth. If your baby measured in the 95th percentile at birth, but at their two-month check up, s/he suddenly drops to the 5th percentile, it can be an indication of a problem. A healthy baby will usually stick to their unique growth curve. 

There is no need for alarm if your baby is always measuring in at the fifth percentile, as long as s/he is growing and you don’t see any other warning signs.

6. Am I Worrying Because I Am Comparing? 

Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your little one to other babies his or her age – they are all unique! Your friend’s baby may weigh closer to the average baby than yours does, but as long as you are not seeing any other warning signs, you probably don't need to worry. Remember that just as every adult doesn’t fit into the “average” size, neither do babies.  

If after reading through these questions you still feel concerned, get in touch with your baby's doctor. As a new (or even experienced) parent, you are always allowed to call the doctor and ask your questions. If you feel something is wrong, check in!  

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