When your baby is here, the first thing the doctors will whisk him away for is to check his vitals, weight, and length. After all, it stands to reason that mapping your baby’s growth is a sure-fire way to check that he’s growing well, right? If a baby is growing well it’s understood that he is more likely to be healthy than a baby whose growth is poor. But, does this mean that you should be constantly monitoring your baby to check his weight gain? How much is too much? Read on to know more.
At the outset, you should keep in mind that no two babies are the same. While one may weigh in slightly more on the scales than another, another baby who weighs less is also likely to be as healthy. On an average, a newborn weighs about 5 to 8 pounds. In certain cases, the baby may be born large or small.
If the mother or both parents are overweight, the infant may be born large. While large babies may be prone to issues like low blood sugar, calcium, and other problems, staying in touch with your pediatrician can help you maintain your baby’s health.
A baby may be born small due to various reasons like being born early, malnutrition, or genetic reasons. A small baby may have to have their temperature, glucose, hemoglobin levels monitored, to ensure healthy development.
Influencing factors at Birth
Remember, as, with a lot of aspects concerning babies, weight too is determined by multiple factors. These include:
- Mother’s health during pregnancy: If you have been healthy throughout your pregnancy, chances are that your baby has an average or more birth weight. However, any health issues you may have had may influence your baby’s birth weight.
- Baby’s health: Medical complications during pregnancy can influence the baby’s weight. For instance, pre-term birth or complications in pregnancy may impact your baby’s birth weight.
- Nutrition during pregnancy: What you eat when you are pregnant is important for the baby. A poor diet, for example, can affect your baby’s birth weight. Hence is advisable to include a variety of nutrients to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth.
What more should you know?
As a new mother, it’s often difficult to gauge whether your little one is gaining weight or not. A newborn will lose weight in the first few days, around 5-7 days, of his life, but will steadily gain his birth weight over the next few weeks. Keep these things in mind when it comes to weight gain:
- How often your baby is fed is important. A 5% weight loss is normal for a formula fed babies, while 7-10% is normal for breastfed babies for the first few days.
- Babies will have gained much more weight by about 3-4 months. At 4 months weight gain will look different for breastfed and formula fed babies. The best judge is your pediatrician. Consult them to ensure your baby has a healthy weight.
- Keep track of wet diapers. An average baby will have 5-7 wet diapers and 3-4 dirty diapers a day. Now, this may change with time. Plus, formula fed babies may have fewer bowel movements.
Here’s some more information
Remember that at the end of the day, genetics and environment have a large role to play in your baby’s weight gain and growth. Even if your baby has started off being smaller, there is nothing to say that he won’t gain weight as he grows. Keep monitoring your baby to ensure that he is healthy and active, and let weight be a guide and not the only factor by which to judge your baby’s health.