As a new parent, it’s completely natural to have a lot of questions when finding out just how many pounds and ounces make up your little bundle of joy. Weight is an incredibly useful tool for doctors to predict your baby’s development, as well as any potential health complications. That being said, don’t worry too much if your baby is a tad on the littler or larger side, as it’s perfectly normal for babies to come in all shapes and sizes – and Kiddies Kingdom are here to help you understand everything there is to know about your little one’s weight.
How Much Should Babies Weigh?
Asking “how much do babies weigh?” is like asking “how long is a piece of string?” – there isn’t one specific answer.
According to WHO, the average weight for a baby boy is 7lb 6oz (3.3 kg) whilst the average weight for a baby girl is 7lb 2oz (3.2 kg). However, there are a wide range of weights that are considered healthy and normal, so don’t panic if your bub isn’t exactly on the average. Babies aren’t considered to be of low birth weight unless they weigh under 5lbs 8oz (2.5 kg) and they won’t be considered to be of high birth weight unless they weigh over 10 pounds (4.5 kg).
If your baby is of low or high birth weight, doctors can use this information to ensure your little angel’s care is tailored to their needs.
Why Do Some Babies Weigh Less or More Than Others?
There are lots of reasons why some little ones can be heavier or lighter than others. Here are just a few:
If mummy and daddy are both petite, it’s likely that their baby will follow in their footsteps. On the flip side, a strapping dad and a strong mama will probably have a bigger bundle of joy.
It’s common for younger mums to have smaller babies, so if you’re a few years off your first grey hair, you may find yourself tending to a tinier tot.
- It’s your first rodeo
Firstborns are commonly a little lighter than average. So, if you decide to have another little cutie, don’t be surprised if they’re a touch heavier than their big bro or sis was.
- There’s more than one baby (multiples)
If you’ve been blessed with twins, triplets, or even more, they’re likely to be smaller than single babies. This is all thanks to them having to share their growing space with their siblings. For all things twins-related, we’ve got all the answers to your parenting questions for when you’ve got double the fun on your hands. And if you’re interested in learning a little more about twinnies, we’ve got all insider info on these bundles of joy.
- Substance use
Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can all increase your little angel’s chances of being born at a low or lower than average birth weight – just one of many reasons why you should avoid these things during pregnancy.
- Lack of nourishment
If you aren’t eating enough, the tiny human in your womb isn’t being fed enough either. So, throughout your pregnancy – forget the diet! And if you have a history of disordered eating, we advise that you tell your doctor so that they can give you extra support.
- Diabetes/Gestational Diabetes
If you suffer from diabetes, including gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy), then your baby is much likelier to be born at a high birth weight. But don’t fret – you can speak to your doctor for help and advice in regard to managing this.
- Your baby is an early bird
Premature babies are a lot smaller than full-term babes, and this is due to them having less time in the womb to grow. For this reason, premature little ones are measured against a different weight chart than full-term tots up until two weeks after their original due date.
How Much Weight Do Babies Need to Gain?
One of the first things your babe does after entering the world is lose fluids – so much so that their body weight decreases by 5 to 10%. Don’t worry though – this is no cause for alarm, as your little tyke will gain all that weight back in no time – usually in about two weeks. This is why your baby will be weighed again two weeks after birth, to make sure that they’re at or above their birth weight. After this, babies usually gain 4 to 7 ounces per week, and 1 to 2 pounds per month. Larger gains in weight can usually be expected at 7 to 10 days, 3 weeks and 6 weeks. Your beautiful babe will gain weight pretty rapidly in their first 6 to 9 months. However, this will slow once your little tyke starts crawling around and exploring the world.
How Often Should Babies be Weighed?
The NHS recommends that (unless your GP or midwife says otherwise) your baby be weighed:
- No more than once a month during the first six months.
- No more than once every two months from 6-12 months.
- No more than once every three months from one year of age.
How Can I Understand the Baby Weight Chart?
The baby weight chart, or centile chart, is a handy tool for measuring your bub’s weight gain against the average. There are different charts for boys and girls, as boys tend to be heavier and have different growth patterns to baby girls. It’s not just weight though – they’ll also be looking at your little one’s length and head circumference too. Again, it’s totally no cause for panic if your baby isn’t perfectly on the “average” centile line. In fact, it’s common for measurements to be a centile line above or below the average. And, if your kiddo is more than one centile line off the average, just chat with your health visitor – they can help you figure out how to get your babe back on track.
It’s also completely normal for your baby to be in different centiles for weight and length/height – although the two should be somewhat similar.
How Can I Manage My Baby’s Weight?
If you feel that your baby isn’t gaining weight in line with the average, you may need to have a think about ways you could help them gain a little more. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this:
- Increase feeding
Look to feed between 8 to 10 times per 24 hours. If you breastfeed, the last of the milk in each breast is the highest in fat and therefore it’s important your baby drains one breast per feed, to get this high-fat milk.
- Bottle feed
Some babies struggle with breastfeeding due to not having the right strength in their jaw yet, so try supplementing with bottled breast milk or formula, as they may find it easier to feed from a bottle.
Alternatively, your baby could be gaining weight at a higher-than-average rate. If it doesn’t happen every week, this is probably just a growth spurt and nothing to worry about. However, if it’s constant, it may be down to overfeeding – which isn’t really possible with breastfeeding but could be with formula. If you feed with formula, make sure you know the signs that your baby is full. When your little one is satisfied, they’ll usually close their lips, stop sucking, spit the nipple out and turn their head away.
What Signs Should I Look Out For?
Hopefully, this article has reassured you that there isn’t much to worry about when it comes to your baby’s weight. However, if you notice any of these signs it may be worth contacting your midwife or GP – just to double-check everything is a-okay:
- At 2 weeks old your baby hasn’t regained their birth weight.
- After birth weight has returned, they experience a big drop.
- Your bub isn’t responding even after a snooze.
- They aren’t latching onto breast or bottle.
- They’re showing signs of overeating and gaining too much weight for their length.
We hope we’ve helped you and your bouncing babe today, answered your burning questions, and relieved any niggling fears. Whether your angel is light as a feather or a chubby cutie, we’re sure they’ll grow up to be an amazing human being.