Posted by: Admin | June 28, 2011

My Thoughts on a Baby’s Weight Gain

Do you know that obesity is linked to infancy feeding? Did you know that breastfeeding helps provide protection against obesity?

Don’t read me wrong here! There are many other factors that lead to obesity, but how we are fed as babies can have an influence in our predisposition to obesity later on in our adult life. There are many reasons why we say breastfeeding is protective. First, it is difficult to over-feed a breastfed baby. Unless you are giving her breastmilk in a bottle, a breastfed baby cannot be forced to take the breast and stay on if she is not hungry anymore. Breastfed children learn to pace themselves and to recognize when they are full. And even if a breastfed baby is quite chubby, an exclusive diet of breastmilk alone for the first baby’s six months produces fat cells that are temporary, meaning that they will disappear when the child grows up. However, the type of fats contained in baby formula only flatten out and remain in the body of babies fed on this formula, waiting for a time when the body adds some extra calories in order to store fat for times when food is scarce. This way the body has of storing fat probably comes from long ago when people were hunter-gatherers and famine was frequent. It is surely a trait we needed then, but now, all the extra calories in the processed foods we are eating are catching up with us! Times have changed, and we do not live in the past anymore. Technology has changed our world quickly, and our bodies’ genetic wiring has not had the chance to change accordingly. And so we still accumulate food for famine times – but when famine never comes, fat simply adds up! Breastmilk is reported to protect babies against this fat build up. Breastfed babies are also generally leaner then formula-fed babies – and being leaner does not mean that a child has poor health, just as being chubby is not necessarily a sign of better health!

Here are some guidelines to weight gain in breastfeeding babies:

Immediate postpartum period – Day 1 to 3: up to 10%  loss from birth weight, but usually around 7%

After milk comes in: 125 to 250 g per week, with birth weight regained by 10 to 14 days

From 1 week old to 3 months old:  125 to 250 g (do not evaluate daily) per week or 1 kg per month

From 4 months to 6 months: 500 g per month

From 7 months to 12 months: 225 g per month

From 1 to 2 years old: 1.8 to 2.3 kg for the year

Remember: The baby’s growth in length and head circumference needs to be evaluated by a health care professional as well!

A baby might gain the minimum weight required and be very healthy. It is important to look at growth in terms of length and head circumference along with other developmental milestones. Also, when a very young baby is weighed, it is important to take into account a few things:

– Always check that the lowest weight (usually taken between the 2nd and 4th day after birth) be used to calculate weight gain, as babies lose weight after birth (which is normal). Their birth weight should never be used to calculate the weight gained. In addition, there are many other factors that must be considered, including the comparative accuracy of the different scales used to weigh the baby, how the baby was dressed when being weighed, whether she was fed recently fed, and so forth.

– Always have the baby reweighed if she seems to have gained insufficient weight. Make sure to have all the child’s arms and legs inside the scale during weighing.

– Never have your baby weighed daily; a weekly weighing is more accurate.

If you need to evaluate if your baby is getting enough breastmilk in between weight checks, look at his stools and wet diapers.

If the baby is 6 weeks and under, he should have:

• Minimum of 2 stools per day

• 6 to 8 wet diapers per day

If the baby is 6 weeks old, he could have many stools or:

• 1 stool per 10-14 days

But should have at least:

• 6 wet diapers and more

The Canadian Pediatric Society provides an information fact sheet for parents on when you should get your child weighed and what growth chart should be used. You can get this fact sheet at:


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