How Much Weight Do Babies Gain Per Month?
The moment a baby is born, its parents are anxious and excited about its growth….
The moment a baby is born, its parents are anxious and excited about its growth. To ensure that the baby is healthy, its physical attributes are measured and recorded. Amongst the very first parameters that are noted about your newborn baby are its weight, length (height), and circumference of its head. Do you know why?
These parameters need to be monitored for a while- weeks, months, and even years- to understand if your infant is growing at the average expected rate. This is an indication of the baby’s overall development. In this article, we focus on baby weight and weight gain. Babies almost double their birth weight by the time they are 5-6 months old. On their first birthday, normally babies are around 3 times their birth weight. Let’s see in detail, why and how much weight babies gain per month.
Factors Affecting Baby Weight Gain
The baby’s genetics is one major factor that affects its growth. Everybody understands that a baby of heavy parents is likely to be heavier than a baby of parents with lesser weight. Children receive many traits and characteristics through their genes. The same applies to height too. Even if the mother is on the lighter side, if the father is heavy, the baby could also be heavy. This inheritance is simply science.
Feeding Patterns And Nutrition
The baby’s feeding habits could affect his weight gain, and in turn his nutrition. A newborn baby usually feeds exclusively on milk until 6 months of age. But this is the time until which the baby gains weight most rapidly because the frequency of feed is much higher. After this duration, weight is gained at a slower pace. When the baby starts solids at the age of 6 months, there could be a sudden rise in weight, but this stabilizes soon.
Growth Spurts and Developmental Milestones
Growth spurts usually occur at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. However, this may vary for every infant. During such growth spurts the baby may nurse more than usual and gain weight. The baby is helping the mother produce more milk for its growing needs. Developmental milestones such as these are different for different babies and these may affect the rate of weight gain significantly.
Health Conditions and Medical Considerations
The mother’s health conditions during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth can also affect a baby’s weight. For instance, if the mother’s blood sugar level is high, the baby could be born overweight. On the other hand, if the Mother is taking medication for high blood pressure or is anemic, she could give birth to an underweight baby. Other genetic conditions or serious health conditions may also affect the weight gain process, particularly depending on the kind of medication that the mother is taking…
Average Weight Gain in the First Year
Weight Gain During the First Month
A baby who is born post the normal gestational period at about 37-40 weeks, may weigh between 2500 gm to 4000 gm. For 2-3 weeks after birth, the infant sheds some weight because of losing the water content in its body. Soon after that, it starts gaining weight at a very fast pace- almost 28gm per day.
Weight Gain From 1 to 3 Months
The baby gains weight during this period, especially during the growth spurts. By this time the routine for feeding is set and the baby learns to feed until it is full. During the growth spurts, the feeding increases which helps the mother to cope with the baby’s increasing needs. This could lead to a sudden gain in weight.
Weight Gain From 3 to 6 Months
After the 4-month mark, weight gain reduces to around 20gm per day. The growth spurts are also less frequent during this time. Normally, weight gain is steady during this period. Soon, milk alone is not going to be sufficient for the little one. To support the baby’s developmental needs, after 6 months, the baby is given solids along with milk.
Weight Gain From 6 to 12 Months
From 6 months to 12 months of age, the baby puts on only about 10gm of weight every day. However, due to the transition to solid foods, you might notice more weight gain at a certain time. By the time the baby is one year old, he would have gained 3 times his birth weight.
Monitoring Baby’s Weight Gain
Indeed parents are often worried about their child’s growth and development. However, there is no reason to panic even if the baby isn’t growing at the “expected” rate. Every child grows at a different rate. The child’s weight and height are often measured before every vaccination or medical check-up.
This is for the doctors to understand if at a particular age, the child is growing fairly well. Your pediatrician most likely has a growth chart that has percentiles in comparison to the baby’s age, weight, and height. This is an easily readable graph that can give you insights into the baby’s growth in comparison to the average rate at his age. Keeping track of this chart can also help you to understand the same.
The weight gain in the baby is healthy if the baby is feeding well, sleeping well, and alert. If the baby isn’t showing any other developmental issues, then most probably all he needs is some time to gain some weight. Seek medical advice if you feel the baby is getting heavier rapidly or if you find that even in 2 months the baby hasn’t gained much weight.
Promoting Healthy Weight Gain in Babies
Even if a baby was born slightly pre-mature, it puts on a good amount of weight in around 6 months. As parents, concentrate on providing adequate nutrition to the infant. If possible, feed the baby exclusively on breast milk until it is 6 months old. Formula-fed babies may gain more weight than breastfed babies. This is because of the higher energy and protein content in the formula. In the case of breast milk, the baby’s body adjusts the amount of protein it takes in according to its growth level. However, this is not possible in the case of formula. Besides, formula-fed babies are often overfed. This is the main reason for the difference in their weight gain.
After 6 months, include healthy and nutritious solids such as vegetable and fruit purees, cereals, eggs, meat, etc. Once the baby gets used to solids, he starts gaining weight. To keep them healthy, also include the baby in play and such physical activity. The baby is just learning to adjust to the ways of the world and helping his gut get used to the new food and flavors. So, do not be hard on him. Do not starve the baby if he is putting on too much weight, and do not overfeed if he is underweight. Consult a doctor to know the right way to manage the baby’s weight gain.
A baby’s weight gain is an important indicator of its growth and development. Typically, by 6 months of age, the baby is most likely to have gained about twice its birth weight. By the time he is 1, he would have gained 3 times his birth weight. This is however not the exact figure. All children may grow differently.
The idea should always be to nourish the baby with healthy food and a proper routine including enough sleep time and play time. It is always better to monitor the baby’s weight. But does that mean you weigh him every day? Not at all! Trust your instincts, if you feel the weight gain is much lower or higher than the measures we have mentioned here, consult your doctor. It isn’t complicated to manage weight gain. As parents, you just need to be aware!