On average newborn babies weigh between 7.4 and 7.8lbs however the healthy range is typically 5.5-10lbs for girls and 5.6-11.2lbs for boys. There are a number of different factors that will contribute to a newborn’s weight so don’t worry if you’re baby isn’t in line with the average. Over the next few months your baby’s weight should be increasing gradually, although it is common for it to fluctuate a little. Baby weight is something which many parents are concerned about and it is important to keep a check on it to ensure your baby is growing healthily but remember there are many contributing factors to weight and not everything is a cause for concern.
Contributing Factors to Newborn Weight
Many parents will concern themselves over how much their baby weighs compared to the baby in the next room or bed however there are so many things that contribute to the weight of the newborn baby which are important to be considered.
- The diet and weight of the mother before and throughout the pregnancy; those who are overweight will likely have a heavier baby, alternatively if you don’t eat enough nutrients your baby may be lighter. Similarly, prior to pregnancy things which can affect your baby’s weight include whether you smoked, drank alcohol or have diabetes.
- Genetics can play a role such as your birth weight and you and your partners size now.
- Age can have an impact; younger mums tend to have smaller babies.
- Firstborn children will tend to be smaller than others.
- If you have multiples, they will likely be smaller than singles.
Immediately after birth, usually once the baby leaves the hospital, they can often lose weight. This tends to be about 5-10%. This is very common as the new baby will lose fluid which is completely normal after birth. Newborn’s don’t need much food immediately either so it is likely they won’t gain the weight back immediately and this is completely normal. It can take 10-14 days for babies to be back at birth weight.
Baby weight will be monitored by a midwife at your regular check-ups, but you can also get your baby weighed at any time you may need. New babies tend to gain around 4-7 ounces each week which means about 1-2 pounds each month, then external factors may begin to influence their weight gain. Breastfed babies tend not to gain weight as quickly as those fed with formula. There are some common times that your baby will likely have a growth spurt; 7-10 days, 3 weeks and 6 weeks. During this time, you’ll notice they will be looking for more food.
Managing your 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.
- Increase feeding; possible the most obvious answer to weight gain is to increase feeding but it is important. Look to feed between 8-10 times per 24 hours.
- If you breastfeed, the last of the milk in each breast is the highest in fat and therefore it is important your baby drains one breast per feed in order to get this high fat milk.
- Some babies struggle with breastfeeding due to not have 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 weight. If it doesn’t happen every week this is possibly just a growth spurt and nothing to worry about, however if it is constant it may be down to overfeeding. Overfeeding isn’t really possible with breastfeeding but could be with formula. If you feed with formula make sure you know the signs your baby is full. When a baby is full, they will usually close their lips, stop sucking, spit the nipple out and turn their head away.
Sign’s to Look Out For
Babies all grow at different rates and usually it is not important to obsess over their weight. As long as they produce 10 wet nappies per day and 5 dirty ones (fewer for those fed with formula), are alert after a nap and is latching correctly there should be no reason to worry. However, if you notice any of these signs it may be worth contacting your midwife or GP.
- At 2 weeks old your baby has not regained their birth weight.
- After birth weight has returned, they experience a big drop.
- The baby is unresponsive even after a sleep.
- They aren’t latching onto breast or bottle.
- They are showing signs of overeating and are gaining too much weight for their length.