Babies have their own way of reflecting happiness and sadness. They might just look like the freshest flower in the garden or give you insights of any uncorrected behavior that is going inside them by not showing any signs of smile.
Decoding the baby’s growth and development is not that hard when you know how to take care of your child and don’t panic at random figures that come across you. Baby weight gain and loss is a serious issue and we sometimes panic before finding the right reason behind it.
Babies reflect changes in their body very quickly and so a minor change in the baby feeding will show up in their weight gain or loss. The crux is in studying the behaviour and correcting them at the right time to save you from any possible medical condition for both you and your baby.
Our short guide on insight of how baby weight gain and loss works might just help you understand the patterns and the things that influence the baby’s growth and weight on a daily basis.
How much does an average baby weigh?
The average baby weighs about 71/2 lbs and is about 20 inches long at birth. The average is although just a mathematical term which means that half of the babies all over the world has somewhat less weight than this average and half of them have much more than this.
What new born mothers worry about in the first few visits with the doctor after the child birth is the weight of the child, how much has it increased and if it is below average or above average.
What is normal weight loss for breastfed babies?
The world health organization has come up with standards that reflect reference for the growth of your baby in the first 2 years in the best way.
The guidelines for understanding the baby weight gain or weight loss patterns are:
- A baby can lose about 5 to 10 percent of its birth weight in the initial first week.
- The baby then regains this lost weight within the fourth week
- The baby weight gets doubled within a time of 4 months of his birth.
- The baby’s weight gets tripled in 13 months when it is a boy and almost 15 months when it is a girl.
- The baby almost gains the height to almost 1.5 to 2 times in a year of birth.
- The baby’s head circumference increases by 11 cm in about a year of birth.
These guidelines are not control specific and are just insights of average and can differentiate with different kids. A general guideline helps you have a good idea if your baby is growing in a right pace or not.
What are the baby weight gain and loss patterns in the initial days?
It is normal for a baby to lose weight in the initial couple of days as the baby is still not in receipt of the breast milk from the mother and is getting small amount of nutrients from colostrums they receive in the early birth days.
After this the baby starts getting breastfed which gives them the required nourishment, energy and fluids and helps them regain the lost weight fast. In about two to three weeks the babies are able to restore the loss and start gaining weight at a good pace.
There is a necessity to keep the baby massage and exercising going in the initial weeks of its birth to give the baby body a habit to work and burn out the energy produced else the energy provided through the breast milk starts getting stored and results in bringing about huge changes in the baby weight and the baby starts becoming fatter.
What are the weight patterns at later stages of growth?
Eight to twelve months into breastfeeding makes it necessary for the baby to shift to more solid substance to munch on or resort to other food intake too apart from the breast milk. This is where the baby formula comes in the scene.
The feeding of baby formula, mashed fruits or random picks gets the baby nourishing going with lesser intake of breast milk. Sometimes the intake of these supplements may not fulfill the baby’s energy requirements and may result in weight loss.
This is not a reason to worry, it is just that you will need to spot the stage and find corrective ways to provide the baby with the right nutrition through several healthy ways to provide for the best growth of the baby.
What is a growth chart?
Growth chart is a baby chart that is prepared keeping in mind the milestones achieved by the baby through the days he has lived. This shall include the basics like the height, measurements and the weight every week, month and year which when compared to the Standard charts gives you a fair idea of the average growth of the babies worldwide and your baby’s progress.
The world growth chart is drafted by compiling the data of a large number of children from different nations at different stages and gets the accurate mathematics to match the standards.
They are in the form of percentiles and help in drawing needed calculations. The charts are drawn differently for girls and boys.
The breast milk and weight theory!
Breast milk gives the required energy the baby needs for its early growth and development. Regular and timely breastfeeding helps the baby have a fair routine and produce good energy for development.
You will have to keep a check on the baby’s measurements and weight and even the number of nappies that are required to be changed during a day to keep track of any condition that may get severe.
Enough breastfeeding but slow growth: In this case the baby will appear to be a little underweight and if the baby still has a fair nappy count it means that the baby is fed well but is not able to grow properly. These can indicate several conditions like:
- Vomiting or reflux of fed milk
- Some sensitivity in the mother’s milk
- Urinary infection
It is best to reach out to your doctor and get the thorough tests done.
Enough breastfeeding yet less weight gain: Some people gain less weight even with the perfect diets this is not a serious condition but just a way of how their body is built. They tend to consume extra energy and don’t result in gaining weight.
If your baby is achieving the growth chart milestones, has a good nappy count, achieves the required height, the chances are high that your baby is meant to be naturally underweight.
Not enough breast feeding: Sometimes the babies resist from getting breast fed and giving them other food is not an option. Or other times there are lesser instances of baby drinking the milk, the following guidelines might help.
- An average baby needs at least 6 times of breastfeeding in 24 hours. If your baby has been getting less, try to increase the number and if you think the weight gain is not influenced much you can always increase it to as much as 8 times in 24 hours.
- Frequent breastfeeding also means that your breasts is not producing as much milk as required and may be relatively empty. You need to emphasize on methods to increase milk production in you.
- Feed the baby for a longer time in a sitting as the fat content at the end of the milking is higher than in the beginning. When you feed your baby till the end, it is more likely to gain weight faster.
- Try offering both the breast feed to your baby and not just one. Changing can result in giving more milk.
- Make sure that latching and sucking is done nicely and the baby is able to take the milk in rightly.
All of a sudden loss of weight in babies!
There are often instances when a baby is growing well and all of a sudden starts to lose weight. Consider the following patterns.
- Are you stressed or unwell since a few days and it may harm the breast milk produced
- If you have started a new medication it might be affecting the milk
- Check the chart and understand if it is time for the baby to lose some weight
- Changes in baby’s behavior and causes might reflect the problem
- Are you feeding the baby at different time than what the baby indicates
These few reasons sometimes affect the baby’s growth and result in sudden weight loss. However, spotting the problem and consulting a doctor will help you rectify the situation.
Baby weight gain and loss will always be a result of some energy lack or some problem in providing the nutrition he needs. Always keep an open eye on the baby weight and check every possible way to work on it.