Healthy Weight Gain the First Year of Life
Babies grow so very fast the first year of life. It is important to make sure they are growing at the correct rate, and getting enough to eat to become healthy toddlers. Babies need breastmilk or formula, and nothing else, for at least the first 6 months according to the AAP, WHO, and CDC. Some parents may choose to introduce solids to babies between 4-6 months, but this must come from the direction of your pediatrician.
Babies will have a number of pediatrician visits their first year, so you will be able to track their weight quite easily. There is really no reason to buy an at-home scale unless there are concerns over weekly weight gain. Pediatrician visits will typically occur at birth, 1-2 days after being discharged from the hospital, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9, months, and 12 months. Babies grow very quickly in the first few months, and then this starts to slow down. In the first 4 months, babies should gain about 5-7 ounces per week, or about 1 ¼-1 ¾ lb. per month. From 4-6 months babies weight gain will slow down a bit with only 4-5 ounces per week, or 1-1 ¼ lb. per month. By 6-12 months babies are gaining an average of 2-4 ounces per week, or 0.5-1 lb. per month.
Babies will typically double their birth weight by 4-6 months, and triple their birth weight by their first birthday. Breastfed babies should feed on demand as frequently as needed. Your only measure that baby is getting enough is by monitoring diapers and weight. If a baby is bottle fed you can calculate their average intake by multiplying 2.5 by their current weight and dividing that number by the number of feeds. For example, say you have a 10 pound 3-month old. You would take their weight (10), multiply by 2.5=25, and if you are doing 10 feeds per day this would calculate to 2.5 ounces per feeding (25 divided by 10). Say you have an older baby who only eats 8 times per day, and weighs 16 pounds. This baby would eat an average total of 40 ounces daily (16 x 2.5 divided by 8), at 5 ounces per feeding. As babies begin trialing with solid foods their liquid intake may decrease.
If you are concerned about the amount that your baby is gaining be sure to talk with your pediatrician. If you are concerned about breastfeeding be sure to talk with a lactation consultant from your hospital of delivery, or check out my blog on increasing milk supply.
Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!