Weight gain has been seen by pediatricians for a lot of time like an indicator of the baby`s health and of how nourishing the breast milk really is.
This idea has led to many 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.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Breastfed Babies Gain Weight Faster?
- 2 Causes of a Faster Weight Gain in Breastfed Babies
- 3 How Much Do Babies Gain in the First Month?
- 4 Are Babies That Are Breastfed Fatter?
- 5 Truths about the Way Breastfed Babies Grow
- 6 How to Help Prevent your Child from Becoming Overweight?
- 7 Can My Baby Be Too Fat?
- 8 Can You Nurse your Baby Too Much?
Do Breastfed Babies Gain Weight Faster?
It`s completely normal for babies that are breastfed to gain weight faster than those fed with formula during their first 2 or 3 months of life and then reduce (more exactly between nine and twelve months). There`s no real evidence that a breastfed baby that is large will also become a large child or even an adult. Actually, there`s real good studies which show that breastfed babies are less prone to become obese as children or adults than babies that were fed with formula.
Even though this particular evidence doesn`t exist yet, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration regarding the way your baby should gain weight:
- During the 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 2 and 12 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 made in jumps. Is very possible, if not probable even, that in a month during which the baby has growth a lot in length to gain less weight, and vice versa.
Babies that gain weight rapidly often begin to slim down as soon as they are more mobile: crawling, walking or running. Frequently, infants are picky when eating or they become rather “busy” to take enough time and eat. The fat gained during infancy “turn” into ample stores from where to pull when they are active as toddlers.
Causes of a Faster Weight Gain in Breastfed Babies
- Genetics – Did your children gain weight faster when they were infants? What about you as parents? Do you have a large size, or were you large when you were babies? What about your family members?
- Overabundant supply may result in faster weight gain than normal. However, oversupply isn`t a reason to worry if it isn`t causing any issues for the mother or child.
- More rarely – A weight gain that is too fast might be related to health issues, like renal abnormalities, endocrine disorders or congestive heart failure.
How Much Do Babies Gain in the First Month?
The average baby will gain around 2/3 to 1 ounce per day and develop a length of 1 to 1 ½ inches during the first month. Keep in mind that lots of babies lose some of their weight during their very first few days of life; however, they generally recover this particular weight during the next few days, so within 7 to 10 days, they are back to normal.
Are Babies That Are Breastfed Fatter?
Yes, this is true! Breastfed infants have a tendency of being bigger than those fed with formula during the first months. Then, from about 6 months, the ones fed with formula will be the bigger ones on behalf of those that are breastfed.
Truths about the Way Breastfed Babies Grow
All studies made until our present times reveal a few characteristic traits in the way babies that 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 at schedule and are forced to sleep all night by applying the CIO (crying-it-out) method or other of this method`s variations.
How to Help Prevent your Child from Becoming Overweight?
- The best possible thing that you are able to do to ease your baby`s chance to become overweight when he`s older or as an adult is to continue the breastfeeding process as long as you can.
- Don`t force him to eat if he isn`t hungry. Allow him eat according to his appetite.
- You need to avoid solid food for the first 6 months of the baby`s life (this is mostly helpful for infants who come from families with a history of allergies or obesity).
- If you starts with solids, they should be added very slowly in your baby`s diet. Breastfeed him before providing solid food, and be certain that most of the baby`s calories are obtained from breast milk until the end of his first year.
- Once he become more active, let him time to play and move as he pleases.
- As the little one becomes older, offer him a good example in terms of physical exercise and eating habits.
Can My Baby Be Too Fat?
Babies do need a high diet in fat in order to support their development while they are still infants. A baby that is breastfed in an exclusive way receives around half of his daily calories from the breast milk`s fat. Due to this reason, you shouldn`t add any caloric restrictions as they aren`t recommended for babies up to 2 years old. – Visit this link!
Nonetheless, calories and excessive fat can still be a reason to worry. For instance, if the baby is too heavy, crawling or walking can appear later than normal (very important parts of the physical and mental development of a baby). While a large infant might not turn into an obese child, an overweight child frequently remains like this until adulthood.
Can You Nurse your Baby Too Much?
Frequent feedings will help stimulate the milk production during your first couples of weeks as a new mother. A breastfed baby will perhaps nurse between 7 and 9 times per day until 1 to 2 months.
Before you have an “established” milk supply, breastfeeding would need to be “on demand” (when the baby wants to eat), which is usually around 1 ½ to 3 hours. As infants get older, they will nurse less frequently, and might develop a schedule that is more reliable. Some may feed every 1 ½ hours, while other ones may go up to 2 – 3 hours between feeding sessions. Newborns shouldn`t go more than around 4 hours without being fed, even at night.