One of the most common questions a parent asks is “Is my baby’s weight normal?” and it doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. Hence, we’ll try to understand a little more about it.
Most babies who are born full term (38-40 weeks gestation) weigh between 5-10 lbs (2.26 to 5.43 kgs). If your baby falls within this range at birth, there’s probably no reason to be concerned about his/her size. Often, a baby is larger or smaller than average, but is still healthy. Although a baby is small or big at birth, it does not necessarily reflect his or her adult size.
A baby who weighs less than 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) is considered to have a low birth weight. About half of all twins and 90% of all triplets are born prematurely, before 37 weeks, and have a low birth weight of under 2.5kg.
If a baby weighs more than 4kg (8.8lbs) at birth, it may be referred to as macrosomia, which means the baby is larger than normal. These babies are often born to mothers who developed gestational diabetes while they were pregnant.
Some of the factors that influence a newborn’s weight are the mother’s health during pregnancy, physical build of the parents, birth order (first borns tend to be smaller than subsequent children), gender (girls tend to be smaller than boys), multiple births and nutrition during pregnancy.
It is expected that newborns will lose some weight in the first 5-7 days of life. A 5% weight loss is considered normal for a formula-fed newborn. A 7%-10% loss is considered normal for breastfed babies. It may feel disconcerting to see your baby’s weight going down, but try not to worry. It’s completely normal, and once your baby’s feeding regularly, he/she will start to gain weight.
Most babies should regain this lost weight by 10 to 14 days. If a baby loses a significant amount of weight, is sick, or is premature, it may take up to 3 weeks for them to get back to his or her birth weight.
By the time they are 6 months old, they are likely to weigh twice as much as they did at birth. Your baby’s growth will then gradually slow down.
Occasionally, your baby’s weight may increase or decrease at a higher rate than normal, caused by sudden growth spurts or bouts of illness. The baby’s rate of growth is partly down to his/her body type and metabolism, and partly down to his/her feeding habits, environment and general health.
Make sure to monitor your baby’s weight regularly with your physician and take actions that are necessary according to it.