Newborn Weight Guidelines
The weight ranges for babies can vary drastically because they come in all shapes and sizes. On average, the weight range for most of the full-term babies is between 5 pounds and 8 pounds, 13 ounces. But there are healthy babies who will be born under or above that weight.
Generally, the gain in a baby’s weight is used as an indicator of overall health and development. That is why your pediatrician monitors your baby’s height, weight and head size in every appointment. Doctors will likely use a graph from the CDC, U.S or any other national organization that shows the weight, length and head circumference.
What to expect from a baby’s weight gain
Typically, newborn healthy babies will lose 7% to 10% of their birth weight in days following delivery. Babies are born with extra fluid which is eliminated quickly thus accounting for the weight loss. Afterwards, they begin gaining weight. In two weeks, most babies will have regained the weight they lost at birth.
In their first month of life, babies gain 1 to 2 pounds or 1 ounce in a day. There are periods where the weight gain is rapid such as:
- 7 to 10 days old
- 3 weeks old
- 6 weeks old
Before or during this birth spurt, your baby may be unusually fussier. He or she may eat more or cluster feed (breastfeeding more frequently for set periods of time). After the growth spurt, their clothes may no longer fit them.
There are also times when the baby’s weight gain will slow down to 2 pounds a month. In the first months, boys will gain weight quicker than girls but by 5 months, both boys and girls double their birth weight.
Weight gain in premature babies
Premature babies often weigh less than full-term babies. Such babies will stay in the neonatal intensive care unit so that they can steadily gain weight before they can go home.
Like other babies, premature babies will lose weight at birth but begin gaining back the weight shortly after this. For premature babies, weight gain is a great measure of health. Without any underlying issues, a premature baby will have no problem gaining weight.
Factors affecting baby weight at birth
- Length of pregnancy
- Nutrition during pregnancy
- Lifestyle habits
- Baby’s sex
- Mother’s health condition during pregnancy
- The number of babies in the womb at the time of delivery
- Birth order
- Baby’s health
In case your baby is having trouble gaining weight, it might be due to any of the following factors:
- Difficulty suckling
- Inadequate daily feeding or calories
- Gagging or vomiting on milk
- Prenatal infection exposure
- Birth defects
- Medical conditions
If your baby is not gaining weight normally, it is a signal for undernutrition or an underlying health issue. This is a concern because it can affect your baby’s ability to hit developmental milestones.
If you are concerned that your baby is underweight or overweight, then you should see your doctor. Weight gain is an important indicator in tracking a baby’s development. If a baby is gaining weight too quickly or too slowly may have long-term health consequences if not addressed.