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Is it normal for a newborn to lose weight? How much is too much?
By: Natasha Burgert, M.D., FAAP
After a baby is born, it is expected for him or her to lose some weight. Nearly all infants experience early weight loss as their body makes important shifts from being inside the womb to an independent individual.
Many new moms worry that their baby is losing too much weight, or that they are not able to nourish their baby during the first few days by exclusively breastfeeding. Thankfully, for most moms, this is not the case.
What is normal?
Nearly all babies lose weight in the days following birth. In general, pediatricians expect babies to be back to their birth weight by 2 weeks of life. This means you have quite a few days to work with baby to establish a nourishing feeding routine. While you are in the hospital, your pediatrician will record the daily weight of your new baby. Plus, baby's weight will be checked at his or her first visit to the pediatrician's office. If there is a concerning amount of weight loss, you and your pediatrician will decide how best to maintain baby's weight.
What you can do for your baby?
Relax. Take a deep breath. Your body was made to support and nourish your infant during the first days of life by breastfeeding. Trusting the feeding partnership you have with your baby will increase the chance for success.
In the first few days of breastfeeding, it is impossible to know just how much a baby is getting in - so watch what's coming out! If your baby is having the number of wet and dirty diapers that your pediatrician expects, then baby is doing OK. There is no need to buy a home baby scale unless directed by your pediatrician or lactation support.
When to worry?
Lean into your pediatrician's guidance during these early few weeks. Your pediatrician's expertise is why you chose him or her to care for your baby in the first place. Now is time to accept his or her instruction and reassurance about your baby's weight. If you are worried, give the office a call to see if your baby needs to be seen sooner for a weight check.
Here are some ideas to help you share with your kids the joy that comes from helping those less fortunate.