Is baby gaining enough weight?

By Krista Gray, IBCLC. Last updated May 31, 2013.

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How much weight is normal for baby to lose after birth?
Weight loss after birth is normal. Ninety-five percent of babies will lose weight after birth, primarily due to excess fluids from maternal hormones and the fact that a newborn’s fluid intake is relatively low in the first few days (perfectly normal!). Average/normal newborn weight loss is 5-7%. Up to 10% can be normal, but mother/baby should be evaluated to ensure breastfeeding is going well. More than 10% weight loss is considered high and intervention should happen by a doctor or lactation consultant.

How quickly should baby regain birth weight?
A baby should return to his birth weight by Day 14. 1 However, if a mother and baby are working with a lactation consultant to resolve breastfeeding issues that resulted in significant weight loss in the beginning, and baby is now gaining weight, it is acceptable for birth weight to be regained by 3 weeks.

How much weight should my baby gain during the first year?
The best chart to use to plot your child’s growth is the World Health Organization’s growth charts for boys and girls. What is most important is that your baby follows his growth curve. A baby falling on the very low or very high end of the spectrum may gain less (or more) weight than the “average” and still be normal. Thus, if you are concerned about your baby’s growth, plotting it on these charts is important. That said, there are basic averages that can assist you if there is concern over your baby’s weight gain.

Boys Weight Gain - Metric
DailyWeekly
Month 133 – 40 gm/day (after initial weight loss)233 – 282 gm/wk
Month 232 – 38 gm/day225 – 265 gm/wk
Month 324 – 28 gm/day168 – 194 gm/wk
Month 419 – 21 gm/day130 – 150 gm/wk
Month 515 – 17 gm/day105 – 122 gm/wk
Month 612 – 15 gm/day86 – 103 gm/wk
Month 710 – 13 gm/day73 – 89 gm/wk
Month 89 – 11 gm/day64 – 78 gm/wk
Month 98 – 10 gm/day57 – 71 gm/wk
Month 10-127 – 9 gm/day49 – 62 gm/wk
Month 13-246 – 8 gm/day41 – 53 gm/wk
Take from World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, 2006. Available online here. In figuring average weight gain we used the weight-for-age z-scores for both boys and girls.
Boys Weight Gain - Standard
WeeklyMonthly
Month 18 – 10 oz/wk (after initial weight loss)2.2 - 2.7 lb/mo (less can be normal depending on weight loss after birth)
Month 28 – 9 oz/wk2.2 – 2.5 lb/mo
Month 36 – 7 oz/wk1.6 – 1.9 lb/mo
Month 45 – 6 oz/wk1.2 – 1.4 lb/mo
Month 54 – 5 oz/wk1 – 1.2 lb/mo
Month 63 – 4 oz/wk13 – 16 oz/mo (around 1 lb)
Month 73 oz/wk11 – 13 oz/mo
Month 82 – 3 oz/wk10 – 12 oz/mo
Month 92 – 3 oz/wk8.8 – 10.9 oz/mo
Month 10-122 oz/wk7.6 – 9.5 oz/mo (1/2 lb)
Month 13-241 – 2 oz/wk6 – 8 oz/mo (1/2 lb or less)
Take from World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, 2006. Available online here. In figuring average weight gain we used the weight-for-age z-scores for both boys and girls.
Girls Weight Gain - Metric
DailyWeekly
Month 128-35 gm/day (after initial weight loss)198 – 247 gm/wk
Month 227 – 33 gm/day190 – 231 gm/wk
Month 321 – 25 gm/day145 – 177 gm/wk
Month 417 – 20 gm/day116 – 143 gm/wk
Month 514 – 17 gm/day95 – 118 gm/wk
Month 611 – 14 gm/day80 – 99 gm/wk
Month 710 – 12 gm/day69 – 87 gm/wk
Month 89 – 11 gm/day61 – 77 gm/wk
Month 98 – 10 gm/day55 – 70 gm/wk
Month 10-127 – 9 gm/day47 – 61 gm/wk
Month 13-246 – 8 gm/day41 – 54 gm/wk
Take from World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, 2006. Available online here. In figuring average weight gain we used the weight-for-age z-scores for both boys and girls.
Girls Weight Gain - Standard
WeeklyMonthly
Month 17 – 9 oz/wk (after initial weight loss)1.9 - 2.4 lb/mo (less can be normal depending on weight loss following birth)
Month 27 – 8 oz/wk1.8 – 2.2 lb/mo
Month 35 – 6 oz/wk1.4 – 1.7 lb/mo
Month 44 – 5 oz/wk1.1 – 1.4 lb/mo
Month 53 – 4 oz/wk0.9 – 1.1 lb/mo
Month 63 oz/wk12 – 15 oz/mo
Month 72 – 3 oz/wk10 – 13 oz/mo
Month 82 – 3 oz/wk9 – 12 oz/mo
Month 92 oz/wk8 – 11 oz/mo
Month 10-122 oz/wk7 – 9 oz/mo (1/2 lb)
Month 13-241-2 oz/wk6-8 oz/mo
Take from World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, 2006. Available online here. In figuring average weight gain we used the weight-for-age z-scores for both boys and girls.

When should my baby double in birth weight?
A newborn should double his birth weight somewhere between 3 ½ – 5 months. By a year, he should be 2 ½ – 3 times his birth weight.

Are there other ways to judge growth than just weight?
Yes. Looking at developmental milestones, skin tone and color, demeanor of baby (is she generally happy), does she seem to feed well and on demand, is she growing out of clothes, does she have enough wet and dirty diapers each day, etc.? These are all ways to judge whether a baby is nursing well, growing and thriving. In a healthy, growing baby it is unnecessary to weigh a baby more regularly than well baby visits to the pediatrician.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Riordan, J. & Wambach, K. (2010) Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, 4th ed. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, LLC. p.333.
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