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Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

Determining slow or poor infant weight gain

Weight gain is one of many signs of good health in the breastfeeding baby. Sometimes, a perfectly healthy baby simply gains weight slowly. It could just be their own unique growth pattern. In other cases, there's a problem that may or may not be easy to identify. If your baby isn't gaining weight according to certain patterns, you and your baby should be checked by your healthcare provider and a certified lactation consultant. Your provider will ask you a lot of questions about both you and your baby. This is to find out if slow weight gain is your baby's natural growth pattern or the result of something else.

Don't panic if your baby's weight gain is ever a concern. It's almost always best for your baby to keep breastfeeding This is true whether slow weight gain is related to your baby's natural pattern or some other factor.

Natural slow gainer vs. a slow-weight-gain problem

A baby who is a natural slow gainer still gains weight steadily, though slowly:

  • Stays on a particular growth curve

  • Grows in length and head circumference according to typical rates of growth

  • Wakes on their own and is alert and wants to breastfeed about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. They may breastfeed less often as babies get a little older.

  • Has about the same number of wet and dirty diapers as a faster-growing baby

Other factors should be considered when a full-term baby is gaining weight slowly:

  • Doesn't gain about an ounce per day (30g/day) until 3 months of age

  • Doesn't gain about 0.67 ounces per day (20g/day) between 3 and 6 months of age

  • Doesn't regain birth weight by 10 to 14 days after birth

  • Has a dramatic drop in rate of growth (weight, length, or head circumference) from their previous curve

Always talk with your baby's healthcare provider if you need more information.

Reviewed Date: 09-01-2023

Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.