From the moment you hold your baby for the first time in your arms to the coming years when you see them grow- every second is a miracle in itself that unfolds in front of your very eyes. It is truly a magical experience for a mother to watch her baby grow and learn every day. One of the things that most moms worry about is their babies’ weights and whether or not the baby is growing as expected.
A baby weighs merely a few pounds when he/she is born. Later, each baby develops its own pace and feeding habits. A general guide to baby weight gain consists of:
- The factors that affect a newborn’s weight
- What should be the baby’s ideal growth
- Guideline to breastfeeding for healthy infant weight gain
- How baby’s weight changes in the initial months
- Sudden changes in the baby’s weight
- Why is it important to maintain a baby’s weight record
Although, there can’t be a set chart board about how much your baby should weigh in a given month and how much weight they should gain every month as they grow. Primarily because each baby is different and grows at a different pace. But, you can certainly look at some general guidelines to identify that your baby is growing normally and there aren’t any complications.
Ideal Weight Gain
According to general observation, most healthy newborns have their weights doubled in around 4 months. Their weights are tripled most likely in one year. This rule slightly differs for baby girls than baby boys.
Along with weight, a baby grows in length too. Generally, an infant grows by an inch in length every month which reduces to half an inch per month after 6 months of age. Also, if your child is healthy and is not suffering from any disease, then there is no problem in your baby’s growth cycle. Still, if you find yourself brooding about your baby not gaining weight, then you should certainly see a doctor who may diagnose any underlying problem and treat it.
Factors that Affect Baby’s Birth Weight
There are undeniably some factors that affect your baby’s birth weight. One of the reasons your newborn may not weigh normal is the time they are born. If a baby is born before the due date usually borns weaker and weighs less than normal. The baby who is born after the due date is heavier than usual.
Another significant facet playing a vital role in a baby’s growth and weight gain is the height and weight of his/her parents. Chubbiness runs in some family blood which is transferred to the baby through genes. Similarly, some parents are underweight, and this factor, in some cases, decides the weight of a baby right from his/her birth.
Also, if you are giving birth to more than one baby at once, chances are that the babies are born lighter in weight than a normal and healthy single baby. Additionally, a mother’s diet and health before and after the birth is considered to be very important in deciding how healthy the newborn will be. Newborn baby weight gain also depends upon how much they are taking the breast milk in. Because breast milk contains all necessary nutrients that are required for infant weight gain and overall health.
Weight Cycle in Initial Months
Babies actually drop their weights in the first few weeks before catching up on the weight gain later. This technically happens because a baby is born with little extra fluid in their body which they lose after birth. This is the reason you would hear many moms telling everyone that the baby was healthy when he/she was born but is weak now and how they think that the baby is not healthy. In reality, it is normal for newborns to lose weight for the first one or two weeks. Gradually, breast milk starts getting developed in the mother’s body to help in newborn weight gain. So, your baby not gaining weight in initial months is not as much a problem as it might seem to be.
Breastfeeding Guideline for Healthy Weight Gain
A newborn’s stomach is the size of a cherry at first. It can barely hold around one teaspoon of colostrum which is the very first batch of milk produced in your body. Initially, the baby should be fed every two to three hours. Baby’s ability to latch is also weak in the beginning. Due to fatigue and sleepiness, it is hard for most babies to latch correctly, and they take very little milk. That is why the baby needs to be fed for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours for the first few weeks.
Baby’s stomach grows from cherry’s size to a walnut’s size in a few days and their ability to hold milk grows accordingly. Therefore, you may reduce the frequency of breastfeeding over time. In initial days, you must focus more on the time spent in breastfeeding rather than the amount of milk produced in your body. Once your baby learns latching well, breastfeeding will become easier for you.
Even if you are formula feeding your baby, you should make sure that you have selected the best formula that provides all the necessary nutrients for newborn weight gain.
Sudden Changes in Baby’s Weight
There might come scenarios when you will see sudden weight drop or weight gain in your baby’s body. This may be a warning sign of some health issue and you must observe closely any recent changes in the baby’s health or routine. Your baby’s weight gain or loss in weight may be triggered by one of the below reasons:
- Your baby is more sleepy and feeding less
- You are not taking healthy diet
- Either you or your baby is ill
- You’re stressed
- You are on medication which is affecting the milk production
If you find one of the above reasons to be behind the sudden change in your baby’s weight, you should seek help to cure the problem as soon as possible. On the other hand, if you observe that your baby is happy and is not grumpy and irritated, your newborn can be healthy regardless of the change in weight.
In any case of confusion, it is best to see a doctor and seek medical advice to ensure your infant’s health.
Track and Maintain Your Baby’s Weight Record
Weigh your baby on a regular basis to keep a track of your newborn baby weight gain record. These basic parameters are usually taken care of by doctors in the first 3 months. But it is equally important for you to keep track of your baby’s weight to ensure his/her proper development. When you visit a clinic for regular check-ups, the doctors maintain a record of your baby’s health, weight, height, etc. which helps them to determine how well your newborn is growing and what extra measures you need to take in order to keep them healthy and growing.