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Ideal Weight Gain in a Newborn Baby

author image Shelley Frost
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
Ideal Weight Gain in a Newborn Baby
Proper weight gain is important to the development of a newborn. Photo Credit kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

Round-the-clock feedings and regular weighing come with the territory with a new baby. Your newborn's child care provider weighs and measures her at every appointment to track her development. A baby who stays within the average weight gain range is generally developing well. With an understanding of typical newborn weight gain, you are better prepared to monitor your baby's growth.

What Ideal Weight Means

Before your newborn gains weight, expect her to lose some. The average baby loses about 10 percent of his birth weight in the first five days, according to HealthChildren.org. If your baby weighed 7 pounds at birth, he could lose about 11 ounces, for example. This decrease happens as your baby loses the extra fluids in his body. By about 10 days old, your baby should be close to his birth weight again.

Low and High Range

Regardless of birth weight, healthy babies gain weight at about the same rate. The weight gain range for newborns is about 4 to 7 ounces per week for the first month of life, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. The average baby puts on between 1 and 2 pounds a month for the first 6 months. The specific weight gain varies by baby and may correlate with both the newborn's body type and activity levels. Ask Dr. Sears notes that a baby who is long and lean or one who is very active burns calories faster and may gain at a slower rate. A shorter, rounder baby or one who doesn't move around much doesn't burn as many calories and may gain weight faster.

Growth Spurts

You may notice certain periods in the first few months when your newborn seems to eat more and gain weight faster. These growth spurts are completely normal. The first boost typically happens between 7 and 10 days of age, according to Kids Health. The next big growth spurt for newborns happens sometime between three and six weeks old. You may not even notice these growth spurts.

What to Watch Out For

Your newborn's health care provider should track your baby's measurements to determine if her growth falls behind. Sometimes called failure to thrive, slow weight gain sometimes can indicate an underlying problem. In some cases, the newborn isn't getting enough calories due to difficulty eating or excessive spit-up or vomiting, according to DrGreene.com. Other babies fail to grow adequately due to a medical condition, such as thyroid problems, infections or heart conditions. If you are concerned about your newborn's eating habits or weight gain, talk to her doctor right away.

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