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Baby weight Weigh it up

SUMMARY

Newborn baby weight can vary greatly; it can depend on your own health and nutrition during pregnancy, as well as their inbuilt genetic make-up, which comes from both parents. Learn what’s considered normal and why your baby’s weight gain in their first weeks and months is an important indicator of their development and wellbeing. 

Baby weight and growth

Babies come in all shapes and sizes, just like their parents. At birth, the average baby weighs about 7.5 pounds — though the range of normal is between 5.5 and ten pounds (all but five percent of newborns will fall into this range). Your own health during pregnancy, as well as the physical build of build of both you and your partner, are some of the factors that will affect your baby’s birth weight.

Newborn weight loss

All babies lose weight after they are born, with many losing up to 12% of their birth weight in the first few days.

Once breastfeeding is established and your baby is latching on well and feeding regularly, they should start gaining weight again. Babies generally get back up to their original birth weight within 10–14 days after birth1.

How your baby’s growth is measured

Your baby’s weight will be carefully monitored during the first couple of months to make sure they are developing healthily. This is why it’s important to keep up with your baby's clinic appointments.

“However much your baby weighs, it’s their growth between appointments that your healthcare professional will be looking for.”

Baby growth is measured using a centile chart. This is a guide to your baby’s individual weight gain, rather than a way to compare babies against each other.

Don’t be too concerned if your baby starts off at the top or the bottom end of the baby weight chart – this doesn’t mean they are over- or underweight. What your health visitor will look for is a steady rate of weight gain, along a given line (centile) on the growth chart.

What is a healthy rate of baby growth?

After the initial drop in weight, your baby will probably gain about 175g to 225g (6oz to 8oz) each week in the first few weeks.

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.

“Your baby may gain less weight when they’re ill or teething, due to loss of appetite.”

Occasionally, your baby’s weight may increase or decrease at a higher rate than normal, caused by sudden growth spurts or bouts of illness. Your baby's weight can also fluctuate around the start of weaning, when they may have difficulty accepting solids, or when they become more mobile and their activity levels increase.

A general trend of good weight gain is a sign that your baby is growing well, and meeting their early milestones for a lifetime of healthy development. If you have any concerns about your baby's weight gain, talk to your health visitor.

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1. What to expect. Your newborn’s weight [Online]. 2014. Available at: www.whattoexpect.com/baby-growth/newborn-weight.aspx [Accessed: July 2014]

Last reviewed: 28th July 2014
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