How Much Weight Should a Baby Gain in the First Month? Explained

It is the dream of every parent to see his or her baby grow and radiate, and sometimes parents get worried if they do not notice physical growth changes in their babies.

A concerned mother or father may want to compare his or her baby’s weight against the standard weight recommended by professionals, hence one may ask how much weight should a baby gain in the first month.

In this article, we will be discussing the question of how much weight should a baby gain in the first month and other weight gain-related questions.

Factors That Contributes To Newborn’s Weight

Before we dive into the question of how much weight should a baby gain in the first month, it is important to highlight to you that some factors can contribute to a newborn’s weight during his growth and they are

  1. The genes of both parents plays a huge role in the overall weight of the baby
  2. The race to which the baby belongs, if you or you’re partner’s family have had large babies or small ones.
  3. The first-borns tends to weigh lesser than the other children
  4. Twins or multiple would have to divide nutrition among each other in the womb, thereby affecting the birth weight of each baby.
  5. The timing of the baby’s birth plays a huge part in birth weight. If the baby is premature he or she will weigh lesser than a baby who completes the nine months birthing circle.
  6. Food sensitivity towards pregnancy may also affect childbirth weight. For instance, having severe sensitivity towards certain foods at any stage of your trimester may affect your baby.
  7. According to research, younger mothers give birth to smaller babies while women in their 30’s give birth to bigger babies.

How Much Weight Should a Baby Gain in the First Month

Usually, the first month of your baby’s existence on the planet is characterized by rapid growth.

A baby should at least gain 1 to 1½ inches in length and 2 more pounds in weight.

These are just references, your baby’s growth rate may be faster or above the reference or slower.

Breastfed babies can lose about 10% of their birth weight during the first week of their life. By the time they are 10 days or 2 weeks old, they tend to regain the weight they lost.

Your baby can go through periods of increased hunger and fussiness and this is caused by the growth phase your baby is going through, with time he/she would outgrow such stage.

How To Measure Your Baby’s Weight

Your baby’s weight can be measured by your baby’s pediatrician and he or she will also measure the length and head circumference of your baby and then compare with standards.

Your baby’s body measurement may be above the standard, below the standard, or at the standard.

Remember that prematurely birthed babies would not have the same growth rate as a full-term birthed baby and they need to be followed more closely than full-term babies.

If your baby is not growing at the normal rate, then more attention would be paid to his feeding pattern like the number of times he or she feeds in a day, how much he or she eats at each feeding.

Signs That Your Baby is Growing

The growth stage of a baby within the first month of his or her life on earth is characterized by an increase in hunger and becoming fussy more than usual.

This stage of your baby’s life is often referred to as the growth spurt stage.

You may be noticing some signs in your baby that may make you start suspecting that the growth spurt stage has set in.

Weight gain is the best sign that a baby is getting enough milk and when a baby is gaining weight slower than expected it simply means that the baby is not getting enough milk.

For a breastfed baby you may notice that your baby wants to eat more and this may be more often than before and most times the feeding session may now be hourly because of the growth spurt.

When a breastfed starts demanding breast milk more often than they normally would, experts refer to this stage as the cluster feeding stage.

For formula-fed babies, they would want more formula than before and during a feeding session, they would want to drink more formula.

Read Also: Formulas That Taste Closest To Breast Milk

Reasons For Slow Weight Gain

If your baby’s weight is below the reference or standard then there may be some underlying causes as to why your baby is not adding weight and they include

1. Poor Latch

If the latching of your baby is good your baby will get enough milk supply and possibly add weight but if the latching is bad or latching is done on your nipple alone there would be inadequate milk supply and if the milk supply is poor, the chance of your baby adding weight is reduced.

2. Infrequent Feeding

If your baby is poorly fed, then there is no how your baby’s weight would meet the standard weight for a month-old baby because weight is kind of proportional to feeding habits.

Experts recommend you breastfeed your baby at least every two to four hours through the day and night for the first six to eight weeks.

3. Pain or Discomfort

Pain or discomfort during feeding sessions may make your baby not eat to his or her satisfaction and if they do not feed well, then they may not add weight.

4. Short Nursing Sessions

Experts recommend you breastfeed your baby for about eight to ten minutes on each side. As your baby gets grows, they may not need to breastfeed as long to get the milk they need.

As you navigate through the first few weeks, try to keep your baby awake and have him suck actively on your breast as long as you can.

5. Low or Delayed Breast Milk Supply

There are some cases where moms may have a delay in the onset of breast milk production.

A breastfeeding mom may have her baby’s weight affected if they experience a delay at the onset of milk production which can invariably affect the baby’s weight since the baby does not get enough milk.

Read Also: How To Increase Milk Supply in One Breast

Risk Factors For Poor Weight Gain

There are lots of factors that may predispose babies to poor weight gain despite good feeding sessions and care from the mothers and some of these predisposing factors may make growing and gaining of weight slower than normal and they include

  1. Premature Birth: Premature babies experience difficulty during feeding sessions and some may even lack the strength to suck their mother’s breast for those of them being breastfed. This is related to the premature birthing process and if feeding is affected invariably weight is as well.
  2. Oral Challenges: Babies find it difficult to latch on if the mother has large nipples or engorged breasts. Babies with oral challenges (such as tongue-tie or a cleft lip and palate) can find it difficult to feed well and this affects weight gain
  3. Jaundice: This condition makes babies very sleepy and as a result interest in a feeding session is lost and it aids poor weight
  4. Illness: Sickness does affect a baby’s feeding habits. When a baby has diarrhea or vomiting, chances are that the feeding routine of the baby is altered and this may lead to poor weight gain.
  5. Neurological Issues: Conditions like down syndrome can affect a child’s ability to latch and feed properly.
  6. Reflux: Babies with reflux vomit or spit up after each feed. In situations like this, the baby does not only lose milk from feeding, the acid from the reflux can irritate their throat, making breastfeeding painful.

What To Do About Slow Weight Gain

If your child’s weight gain is poor then it is necessary that you see your health care provider and your baby will be measured and then possible strategies on how to combat low weight gain will be given to you.

Your health care provider may suggest strategies that may work best for you and your baby, such as

Monitor How Your Baby is Latching

Ensure that your baby is latching on to your breasts properly. You can also seek help or a doctor, lactation consultant, or local breastfeeding support.

Avoid Pacifiers

If your baby sucks on a pacifier instead of nursing, chances are that they won’t be getting as much breast milk as they need.

And also when a baby sucks a pacifier too often, it can tire them out, so they may not nurse as well when it’s time for breastfeeding.

Once your baby has no problems with breastfeeding and is gaining weight well, you can go ahead and offer them the pacifier if you want.

Breastfeed Your Baby Often

Experts recommend you feed a baby whenever they show signs of hunger which is every two to three hours. Since breast milk is more easily digested than formula, hence breastfed babies need to eat more often.

Keep Baby Awake Always

Try as much as you can to keep your baby awake for about 20 minutes during each feeding session.

If your baby falls asleep, you can keep him/her awake by tickling his feet, changing breastfeeding position, changing his diaper, burping him, or applying the switch nursing technique.

Fix Supply Issues

If you’re struggling with a low milk supply, take the necessary steps to increase your milk production.

Aside from breastfeeding more often, try pumping between feeds, try consuming foods that can boost your milk supply, or try breastfeeding herbs or teas.

Try Supplementing

If your health care provider approves, you may supplement your baby with a good infant formula that tastes like breast milk. You can also explore the method of pumping and separate your foremilk from your hindmilk.

Hindmilk has more fat and calories,  which can help your baby gain more weight.

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I hope this article has given in-depth knowledge to answer the question of how much weight should a baby gain in the first month.

Your baby should at least gain 1 to 1½ inches in length and 2 more pounds in weight.

Also, the risk factors for poor weight gain and reasons for slow weight gain have been addressed too.

If your baby is still experiencing poor weight gain after addressing the predisposing factors that may be responsible then you should visit your health care provider for proper evaluation and professional advice.