We’ve all heard mom’s talking about their struggle with losing their baby weight. What most moms don’t consider though is whether or not their baby is losing weight too. It’s actually quite common to see a drop in weight for babies in the days after birth. It makes sense, since they are suddenly adjusting to mouth feeding rather than constant nutrient flow from an umbilical cord. Still, midwives, moms, and doctors have long debated what each pound of weight lost and gained means.

In a study published in the ACTA Paediatrica, weight change in newborns was studied for the first two weeks of their lives outside of the womb. They found that on average, babies who were breastfed lost about 6.4% of their birth weight and formula-fed babies lost only 3.7%. However, half of breastfed babies regained their birth weight after about 8 days while 39% of formula-fed babies did not. In the past, this weight loss was attributed to lactation problems by midwives. This is no longer the case though, because blaming lactation issues only resulted in a decrease in maternal confidence. Instead, it is now considered normal and healthy for babies to lose a bit of weight as they recover from the shock of their new life. Of course, if a baby still has not regained their birth weight after 17 days, pediatricians will most likely look for signs of health issues.

In other words, after you give birth, both you and baby will be shedding some pounds, but don’t concern yourself with how much. Instead, take the time to adjust for those first two weeks, and as you do, both you and your baby’s weight should level out. If after that time you feel you or your baby could use a little help in the weight area, either for loss or gain, it might be time to talk to your pediatrician about nutrition and an appropriate time for a mommy exercise routine. Most pediatricians will schedule appointments to weight your baby to make sure they are developing properly. Take advantage of these appointments to talk about your feeding methods and any other health concerns you might have. Some moms need breastfeeding coaching in order to teach their babies how to latch on, so ask your physician if he or she can recommend someone if you feel you need it. If your baby is feeding regularly though, their weight will most likely develop normally without any intervention at all.

Source: Weight Change in the Term Baby in the First 2 Weeks of Life. DS Crossland, S Richmond, M Hudson, K Smith, M Abu-Harb. ACTA Paeditrica. 19 Mar 2008.

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