Baby Weight Loss
Are you worried that your newborn baby isn’t gaining enough weight?
Normal Newborn Weight Loss
Though many babies lose a small percentage of weight after birth, it is still very common for parents to worry.
Why do babies lose weight after birth?
Babies spend approximately 40 weeks developing and growing in a fluid-filled space, the amniotic sac, in a women’s uterus. This fluid helps to hydrate your growing baby.
When your baby is born they are nice and plump from retaining some of that fluid. Additionally, depending on your labor and delivery, you may have received a large amount of intravenous fluids. Your baby is likely to retain some of these fluids as well.
In the coming days, as your baby adjusts to life outside your belly, it is very normal for them to lose that extra weight from the fluid.
How is weight loss measured?
This weight loss is measured as a percentage. In the United States, your baby is weighed in grams when they are born.
If you delivered in the hospital, then they will likely continue to weigh your baby, in grams, for each day that you are there. They may also weigh your baby right before you go home.
Newborn Weight Loss Percentage
Most pediatric providers will state that it is normal to expect to see a 5-7% loss of weight, as measured in grams. However, it can be normal for your baby to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in those first 3-4 days.
How much weight has my baby lost?
This online calculator will show you what percentage of weight your baby lost.
You will need their birth weight in kilograms or grams, their birth date, and their time of birth. Once you input that date you can input any additional weight checks that your baby has had. Their weight will then be displayed on a graph.
When will babies regain the weight?
At your baby’s first healthcare check-up they will be weighed. Your baby’s provider will then calculate what percentage of weight your baby has lost.
The majority of babies will regain their birth weight by two weeks. This is why most pediatric healthcare providers ask that you bring your baby in for a two-week weight check.
If your baby has not gained back their weight by two weeks, it is important to try to look at what’s going on.
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What can parents do?
As a parent, it’s normal to be concerned that your baby doesn’t lose too much weight. It’s also normal to want to ensure that you are doing everything you can to be sure they gain back their weight.
Watch how often you feed your baby
Whether you are breastfeeding or providing formula to your baby, it is important that you watch both your baby and the clock.
While most parents are taught that it’s important that the breastfed baby is fed every 2-3 hours and the formula-fed baby eats every 3-4 hours. It is also important to watch your baby.
If your baby is showing any signs of hunger before the clock states it’s time to feed, then feed your baby. Do not follow just the clock. However, if your baby is happily sleeping and it has been 3 hours since they started their last feed, then you need to wake your baby up to feed them.
It is especially important to feed often if you are breastfeeding.
If you are breastfeeding, your breasts require stimulation to promote your breastmilk production. You need to offer the breast every time your baby shows cues that they’re hungry, or at the most every 3 hours from the start of each feeding.
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Count your baby’s wet and dirty diapers
If you are formula feeding then you can see exactly how many ounces your baby is eating at each feeding. However, it is not that simple if you are breastfeeding.
When you breastfeed you need to watch for other signs to help determine that your baby is getting plenty to eat. One of those signs includes counting your baby’s diapers.
The number of diapers you should expect to see will change as your baby grows. Most newborns will have at least one wet and one dirty diaper for each day of life. So on day 2 we would like to see 2 wet and 2 dirty diapers. Whereas by day 4 it will be 4 wet and 4 dirty diapers. Around day 6, and until your baby is about 6 weeks old, your baby should be having approximately 6-8 wet diapers and 5 dirty diapers a day. Some babies pee and poop after every feed, so they have more wet and/or dirty diapers.
Should you weigh your baby?
Unless your baby’s healthcare provider advises you to buy an infant scale and weigh them at a set schedule then you do not need to weigh your baby.
However, if you are breastfeeding, I highly recommend that you find a local lactation consultant that will evaluate you, your baby, and your baby’s latch. The lactation consultant may also evaluate your baby’s weight before and after a feeding. This will help to determine approximately how much your baby is eating with a feeding session.
When should you call your baby’s doctor?
If you are feeling concerned at all, then you should call your baby’s doctor. Other instances that would warrant a call to your baby’s healthcare provider, include, but are not limited to:
If you noticed that your baby is not peeing or pooping as often as they had been
Your baby is refusing to eat
Your baby is having projectile vomiting after each feeding
A fever of 100.4 or greater
Your baby appears to be lethargic
If your baby has jaundice and the yellowing of the skin is worsening
Baby Weight Loss
You can feel comfortable knowing that it is considered normal for newborns to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first couple of days after birth.
However, if you are concerned you should contact your baby’s healthcare provider and let them know your concerns.
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