Breastfeeding A to Z

Newborn Weight Check

It is normal for a baby to lose a portion of their body weight after delivery.  This is because babies come with extra fluids onboard and the meconium stools they have stored up during your pregnancy begin to end up as dirty diapers. (1)  Within a couple of days, their weight will stabilize and the baby will begin to gain weight again.

It is normal for a baby to gain approx. 1/2-1 ounce (15-30 grams) per day. Roughly, 4-7 ounces (120-210 grams) per week. (1) (2)

If at all possible, try to weigh the baby on the same scale without clothes. Different clothes, a diaper, and a different scale can all change the weight. When you are talking about ounces (grams), any change in how the baby is weighed is a big deal. For you 1-2 pounds (1/2-1 kg) one way or the other wouldn’t be a big change, but for infants in the early weeks, ounces (grams) are important.

Babies are expected to regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age. We observed that babies were often 1/2- 1 pound (approx. 0.25-0.5 kilograms) above their birth weights by this time. If there is a concern about the weight, it is best to have them weighed again in a week to check the weight twice on the same scale. Remember try to have them weighed with the same things on. Just a diaper or nude each time being consistent on the same scale helps if there are any questions about their weight.

In practice, I’ve seen a few situations, thankfully rare, but they still happened, where the weight was misread on the scales. Sometimes it was a mistake in converting metric weight to pounds. I’ve had people stop nursing because they thought their baby was losing weight and in fact the next weight confirmed that was not the case–the scale had been misread. If there is a question about your baby’s weight, ask to have them weighed again to double check.

It is helpful to know your baby’s birth weight and their discharge weight from the hospital. This information can help when you have your first weight check at the doctor’s office to determine how well your baby is doing.

During growth spurts, babies will sometimes gain as much as 2 ounces (60 grams) per day.

The birth weight and hospital discharge weight may take place on the same scale in the same manner (or not–depending on hospital practices). It is helpful to know if the baby was weighed with clothes on, in a diaper, nude, etc. When weighing your baby at the doctor’s office, the scale will likely be different than the one used in the hospital to weigh your baby and what your baby may be wearing will vary depending on office practices. It is helpful to have 2 weight checks done on the same scale in the same manner (example with diaper, nude, etc.) to get an idea of the rate of baby’s growth. Nevertheless, the baby’s weight is a guide to knowing how feeding is going.

References:

  1. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd revised edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, pp 29, 152-153.
  2. Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, p 343.