Breastfeeding and Baby Weight

Your baby’s weight is a key indicator of overall health. It’s something that will be monitored closely, especially in the first year of life.

Whether your baby weighed a petite 6 lbs or a whopping 9, all babies will lose a significant amount of weight after birth. For breastfed babies, losing 5% to 7% of their birth weight is considered normal in the first few days. But they should regain their birth weight in the first 7 to 10 days of life. Infants normally gain between 5.5 oz and 8 oz a week until about 4 months of age.

There is some evidence that fluids given during labor, especially in the last 2 hours, may add to a baby’s weight and cause him or her to urinate more in the first day of life. Be sure that when weighed, your baby is naked and on a scale that has been zeroed out.

Tracking Your Baby’s Milk Intake

Watch your baby carefully to ensure that he or she is taking in enough milk. Monitor:

  • Diaper output – 6-8 wet diapers a day from about 5 days old on is normal (the first 3–4 days may have half that much output).

  • Behavior – A baby who takes too little or too much time at the breast, and is excessively sleepy and lethargic may not be getting enough milk.

Contact your baby’s healthcare provider if you’re concerned.

Your baby’s healthcare provider will monitor his or her weight carefully. If a baby doesn’t seem to be gaining weight adequately or has lost too much, ask about your options for increasing your breast milk supply, using donor milk or, in more serious cases, supplementing with formula.

Chances are, things will even out quickly and you and your baby will be well on your way to a healthy feeding relationship.

See also ...

•  Newborn feeding habits

•  Hunger signs

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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