After birth, it can be challenging to help your baby adjust to life outside the womb. It’s common for newborns to lose weight initially after birth, according to the Wake Forest Baptist Health website. Once the baby adjusts to eating, this weight loss should stop and the baby should be back up to birth weight by 10 to 12 days after birth. Monitor your baby’s weight gain to ensure that she’s healthy.
Follow discharge instructions for your baby. Generally, a baby will be discharged from the hospital with a notation of discharge weight. Physicians often recommend taking the baby to a primary care physician or pediatrician between 48 and 72 hours after discharge for a weight check, advises the American Pregnancy Association. Record the baby’s weight, length and head circumference on a growth chart.
Weigh the baby again one week and then two weeks after the initial outpatient visit. By the second week after birth, babies are generally back at or above birth weight and have begun a healthy rate of growth. The average weight gain is 5 to 7 ounces per week for the first few months of life, states the American Pregnancy Association. Babies should gain a minimum of 1/2 ounce per day by 4 or 5 days of age, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Monitor the baby’s wet and soiled diapers. During the first month of life, a newborn should have at least six wet diapers in a 24-hour period and three to four soiled diapers, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. This number may vary somewhat depending on whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed.
Watch your baby for signs of satisfaction and hunger needs being met. After a feed, baby should seem comfortable and satisfied for at least an hour or two as long as the baby received an adequate amount of nourishment. If the baby smacks her lips and cries immediately after the feeding ends, she may still be hungry, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Take the baby back for weight checks as often as recommended by the physician. A baby having weight gain issues may need weighing every week or two. A baby growing according to average rates will probably need a well-baby check-up with a weight check every other month during the first six months, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website.
- The growth chart used by pediatricians to track a baby’s weight gain will plot the baby’s growth on a graph. The physician will enter the baby’s length, weight and head circumference on the chart, according to the Wake Forest Baptist Health website. Some babies grow at faster rates and other babies grow more slowly. Even a slow weight gain can be normal as long as the weight gain establishes a pattern.
- Wake Forest Baptist Health: Growth and Development, Newborn
- American Pregnancy Association: Monitoring your Newborns Weight Gain
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain
- Healthy Children.org: How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Well Baby/Child Check-up Schedule
- Wake Forest Baptist Health: Children's Growth Chart
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