Understanding Baby Weight Gain
Importance of appropriate weight gain in babies
Taking care of a newborn comes with several questions and concerns. One of many such concerns is the baby’s weight gain. A baby’s health is determined by weight, height, and head circumference during the early months of development. As the baby’s weight is one of the markers of growth and development, it is vital to keep it under check.
Milestones in baby weight gain
While most parents start expecting increments in the baby’s weight right after birth, the fact is that there is no baby weight gain 5 days after delivery. Instead the baby loses around 5-10% of the birth weight during this period as excess fluids are eliminated from the body. The process is slow and steady and baby weight gain 1 week post–delivery is what needs to be looked out for. Baby weight gain 2 weeks after delivery is equal to its weight at the time of birth as it gains the weight lost in the initial days.
If we track baby weight gain by month, an average breastfed baby weighs twice its birth weight by the age of 3-4 months. Baby weight gain by 1 year is about 3 times the birth weight.
On an average baby weight gain with breast feeding on a monthly basis is as follows:
Expected 0-4 months baby weight gain is 155-241 grams per week.
Expected 4-6 months baby weight is 92-126 grams per week.
Expected 6-12 months baby weight gain is 50-80 grams per week.
Thus, we see that as age progresses, the rate of baby weight gain slows down.
A baby’s weight is monitored right from the time of conception and the mother is also advised to follow a suitable diet or take supplements if needed. This ensures that the baby gains optimum weight. The Baby weight gain during the third trimester is maximum as compared to the first few months of pregnancy as now the fetus has developed completely.
Breastfeeding vs. formula feed
The most common question that mothers have is regarding breastfed baby weight gain vs. formula fed baby weight gain.
Various studies have shown that during the first year of life breastfed babies grow more rapidly during the first three to four months and then more slowly for the rest of the first year. Generally, breastfed babies weigh less than formula-fed babies at 1 year of age. But once they are 2 years old, the gap closes and breastfed and formula-fed babies weigh about the same. Also, breast feeding has added advantages for both the mother and child, which formula feeding does not provide for.
Feeding pattern for babies
Ideally, feed the baby when he/she is hungry so that you neither overfeed or underfeed them. It important to identify the signs that your baby makes when he is hungry. These can be crying, excessively sucking their thumb, getting cranky when handled by anyone other than the mother, etc. During the early days there might be no clear signals, and the mother has to feed as per her own understanding.
However, a routine can soon be set.
One should wait for at least 6 months to introduce the baby to other food items. Monitor your baby’s weight appropriately. However, remember that no two babies are the same, and weight gain differs between babies.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
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