Weight Loss in Babies
The first year of your baby's life is filled with growth. By her first birthday, she will likely weigh three times as much as she did at birth and will be as much as 50 percent longer, according to the KidsHealth website. There are times, however, when babies may lose some weight during these early stages of life.
Weight Loss After Birth
Don't be surprised if your baby doesn't weigh the same as he did at birth when it comes time to leave the hospital. Babies are born with excess fluid, so most newborns lose 7 to 10 percent of their birth weight in the first few days of life. The actual amount of weight loss varies by how much your baby weighed when he was born and his gestational age. Most babies gain this weight back within 2 weeks.
Weight Loss in the First Year
Your baby should gain around 1 to 2 pounds each month during her first 6 months and about 1 more pound each month until she reaches one year of age, according to the AskDrSears website 4. If your baby stops gaining weight or has some weight loss, it may be caused by failure to thrive 6. Failure to thrive can be caused by a variety of factors, such as under-nutrition, illness, metabolism problems and exposure to parasites, toxins and infection, according to Medline Plus 6.
Weight Loss Upon Weaning
Moms should breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics. Then, you can add solid foods and keep breastfeeding until at least 12 months. Formula-feeding moms should give their babies formula for the first 6 months and then feed their babies solid foods and formula for the remainder of the first year. After 12 months, many moms begin to wean their baby from formula or the breast.
This time of transition can be difficult for your baby. Weaning, combined with your toddler's appetite slowing down, may cause him to stop gaining weight temporarily or even lose some weight. Some weight loss isn't a concern, as long as your baby continues to follow his growth curve and his weight doesn't fall to 20 percent below his ideal weight for his height, notes the BabyCenter website 27.
Calculating and Tracking Weight Loss
Track your baby's weight at home using a pediatric scale. If you don't have one, simply weigh yourself on your bathroom scale, weigh yourself again while holding your baby and then subtract your own weight from the combined weight of you and your baby. Track this weight on your baby's growth chart, just like your pediatrician does 28.
Calculate how much below her ideal weight your baby is by subtracting her current weight from her ideal weight. This number, divided by her ideal weight, and then multiplied by 100 equals the percentage below where she is expected to be at this point. If this calculation is 20 percent or higher, contact your pediatrician to assess your baby's weight loss.
- PubMed.gov: Pattern of Change of Weight Following Birth in the Early Neonatal Period
- KidsHealth: Growth and Your Newborn
- American Pregnancy Association: Monitoring Your Newborns Weight Gain
- AskDrSears: Average Breastfed Baby Weight Gain
- BabyCenter: Is It True That Breastfed Babies Grow More Slowly Than Formula-Fed Babies?
- Medline Plus: Failure to Thrive
- BabyCenter: Failure to Gain Weight in Children
- HealthyChildren.org: Weaning Your Baby
- DuraAce/iStock/Getty Images