Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain
Determining slow or poor infant weight gain:Weight gain is one of many signs of good health in the breastfeeding baby. Sometimes, a perfectly healthy baby simply gains weight slowly because it is just his/her own unique growth pattern. In other situations, there is a problem that can be pinpointed. If a baby is not gaining weight according to certain patterns, the baby and the mother should be checked by the physician and a certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). To determine whether slow weight gain is a baby's natural growth pattern or the result of something else, you should be asked a lot of questions about both you and your baby.
Do not panic if your baby's weight gain is ever a concern. Whether slow weight gain is related to a baby's natural pattern or some other factor, receiving your breast milk via continued breastfeeding or an alternative feeding method is almost always in the best interest of the baby. Also, most weight gain issues can be resolved and the mother-baby breastfeeding relationship can continue with proper intervention.
Distinguishing the "natural" slow gainer from a slow-weight-gain problem:A baby that is a "natural" slow-gainer still gains weight steadily, albeit slowly:
- maintains a particular growth curve.
- increases in length and head circumference increase according to typical rates of growth.
- wakes on his/her own and is alert and cues to breastfeed about eight to 12 times in 24 hours.
- produces wet and dirty diaper counts similar to a faster-growing baby.
- does not gain at least one-half an ounce (15 g) a day by the fourth or fifth day after birth.
- does not regain birthweight by two to three weeks after birth.
- does not gain at least one pound (454 g) a month for the first four months (from lowest weight after birth versus birthweight).
- exhibits a dramatic drop in rate of growth (weight, length, or head circumference) from her/his previous curve.
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.