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How Much Weight Should a Child Gain in Their First Year?

by Candice Coleman, studioD

Once your baby makes her first appearance into the world, she will undergo rapid growth during the first year of her life. A pediatrician will compare your baby's height and weight to the average on a growth chart during her checkups. Most children will follow a predictable growth curve over time. If you suspect that your baby is gaining too much or too little weight, your pediatrician can help.

Weight Gain Expectations in the First Six Months

During the first six months of your baby's life, expect him to gain about 7 to 9 pounds, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your baby will likely gain about six of those pounds during the first three months of his life. A pediatrician will not be concerned if your child's average weight gain is a little lower or a little higher than these figures. What matters is that your child's growth continues at a predictable pace.

Weight Gain Expectations from Six Months to Twelve Months

As babies pass the six-month mark, they may now weigh twice what they weighed at birth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your baby may weigh between 17 and 22 pounds when she is 8 months old. When she hits her first birthday, she will weigh approximately three times as much as she did at birth. An eight-pound newborn, then, might weigh 24 pounds on her first birthday. If your child weighs more than average, she may also be taller than average. A pediatrician can determine whether your baby's weight gain is appropriate. A predictable growth rate is more important to a pediatrician than how much your baby weighs.

Growth Charts and Pediatrician Expectations

Pediatricians use growth charts to plot your baby's development over the first year of his life, states the Boston Children's Hospital. Some children grow more rapidly while others grow more slowly, but your baby's pediatrician is more concerned with whether or not your baby's growth curve is stable and predictable. For example, a baby born prematurely, children born to smaller-than-average parents or a baby that was part of a set of multiples may gain weight more slowly than average and still be considered healthy if they maintain their growth curve, according to KidsHealth, a child development site.

Special Growth Considerations

Some children grow more slowly than average, or their average growth rate may suddenly stall. And, some children who have taller parents may experience more rapid growth in weight and height than the average. A pediatrician will ask about your family's growth history, as some babies may inherit a late or early growth spurt from the parents. Some infants may be diagnosed with "failure to thrive" if they cannot maintain a stable growth curve or fall off the charts entirely. This can be caused by a lack of proper nutrition, gastrointestinal problems or physical problems with your baby's mouth that may make eating difficult, among other reasons.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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