Breastfed Infant`s Weight Gain
The rhythm of development at babies that are exclusively breastfed is different than at the babies fed with powdered milk. Has your doctor told this?
For a long time, weight gain at babies has been seen by pediatricians like an indicator of health and of how nourishing the breast milk really is. This idea has led doctors to a lot wrong advices offered to inexperienced mothers and to a lot of babies being deprived by one of the most precious gifts: breast milk. Here`s the truth about the weight gain experienced by breastfed babies.
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Weight Gain at Breastfed Babies
Pediatric textbooks and the online environment are full of graphics and charts that show the normal development of a breastfed baby. They all teach you how much weight has a baby gained on a daily basis, weekly basis or monthly basis.
Tables with percentiles are the most mother-friendly and they seem to reflect the reality in which every child is different more accurately and that the genetics plays an essential role in determining the way an infant gains weight.
The first thing that you should keep in mind if you are breastfeeding is that tables aren`t designed only for babies that are exclusively breastfed. When they obtained the data, doctors have also introduced in their studies babies fed with powdered milk, babies to which the food diversification has started very early, and babies who have received large amounts of sweetened tea, and so on.
So, until now, there isn`t a special growth chart especially designed for babies exclusively breastfed.
What to Know about the Way Babies Gain Weight
Even though the graphics that we are talking about haven`t been developed yet, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration regarding the way your baby should gain weight:
- During the first 3 days after birth, babies lose up to 10% from the weight they have at birth;
- They reach the same weight they had at birth when they are about 2 weeks old;
- Between 2nd and 12th weeks, babies need to gain up to 20g/day;
- During their first month of life, babies gain around 112g to 200g/week;
- During their first 6 months of life, babies gain around 500g to 1.000g/month;
- Between 6 months and 1 year, babies gain around 500g/month;
- During the first 6 months of life, babies grow in length around 2.5/month;
- Between 6 months and 1 year, babies grow in length around 1.2cm/month.
The growth of infants isn`t smooth and constant, it`s rather developing in jumps. It`s very possible, that in a month during which the baby has growth a lot in length, he would have gained less weight, and vice versa.
About How Babies Who are Exclusively Breastfed Grow
All studies made until our present times reveal a few characteristic traits in the way babies who are exclusively breastfed grow:
- During the first 3 to 4 months, both babies who are exclusively breastfed and those who are fed with powdered milk have similar growth rates;
- Between 4 and 6 months, babies fed with powdered milk gain more weight than those who are breastfed, although the rest of their sizes remain similar;
- The baby`s temperament affects the rhythm in which he gains weight.
With babies where co-sleeping is involved and receive breastfeeding at demand, it`s believed that they are developing better than those who are fed on schedule and are forced to sleep all night by applying the CIO (crying-it-out) method or other of this method`s variations.
Does my Baby Get Enough Milk?
There are a few clues that show when an infant receives enough milk. Here they are:
- During the first 2 days of his life is normal to wet 2 diapers per day;
- After the 3rd and 4th days of the baby`s life, he should wet around 6 to 8 diapers per day;
- The baby has 2 to 5 stools per day during the first 2 – 3 months of his life;
- He eats at least 8 – 12 hours during every 24 hours;
- He`s breastfed at demand (at least 10 to 20 minutes at each breast);
- You can hear how he swallows milk while he`s sucking.
Note: A wet diaper is when it receives the amount of liquid of 2 – 4 tablespoons of water.
It`s extremely important for your doctor to be pro-breastfeeding and support you on this matter. If the doctor is that particular type who thinks a baby should be “fat and healthy” and he doesn`t agree is normal if the baby has gained less than 900g per month, maybe it`s best to ask for a second opinion and change your doctor.
How much weight did your baby gained during his first year of life? Did you breastfed him or did he received powdered milk?
Image Credit: Kellymom.com.