There’s so much confusion around baby weighing that it can quickly get too much, even for the knowledgeable parent.
How often should you do it? What to expect when you weigh them? How do I weigh my baby at home? Should you be worried if you see sudden weight gain or loss?
Today, I’ll aim to unclutter all that in one swoop.
We’ll go over every last thing you need to know – this is THE ONLY piece you’ll ever need to read on the topic.
So, put your thinking hat on, read on and bookmark this guide for future reference.
FAQs about baby weighing
Why weigh your baby?
The reasons for weighing your baby start with tracking their development to simple parent curiosity.
Along with the height, the baby’s weight shows if they’re growing well.
Low baby weight tells your doctor to keep a watchful eye for problems like infections, body temperature regulation, oxygen levels, and the ability to feed well.
How often should you weigh your baby?
Below are the guidelines on how often to weigh your baby depending on their age:
- Fifteen days to one month – once
- One month to six months – no more once every 30 days (month)
- Six months to a year – no more than once every 60 days (two months)
- Over a year old – no more than once every 90 days (three months)
Your baby will also be weighed by the pediatrician on birth, after 5, and after 10 days.
*If it’s a preterm birth (or for other reasons), your doctor will define the ranges between weighing.
Should you weigh your child at home?
In theory, there are few reasons to weigh them outside the pediatrician visits unless they advise you to do so.
In practice, most parents do weigh their babies at home. And that’s fine…as long as you’re doing it for the right reasons and you don’t start worrying without cause.
Visit the following link to learn more about how to weigh a baby at home.
Make sure you have an accurate baby scale
It’s important to understand that the stats above are clinical assessments, and the measurements used to make them need to follow the same standard.
That’s why it’s not enough just hopping on an adult scale alone and then with the baby, which is a popular way to do it among some parents.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it because you’re not harming anyone…as long as you don’t call your pediatrician on a weekend night based on what the adult scale is showing.
This brings us to the all-important topic of choosing a good baby scale.
Covering it here is way beyond the scope of this guide, which is why a separate write-up on choosing the best baby scale.
How much should a baby weigh?
The birth weight of a healthy full-term baby will typically be between 5.73 and 8.38 lbs (2.6 and 3.8 kilograms).
Anything under that range is considered low, while a baby that weighs over 8.82 pounds is considered larger than average.
What’s considered a healthy weight gain for babies?
A steady weight gain that doubles the baby’s weight within 4-6 months and triples it within a year is considered healthy.
Say that a baby weighs 7 lbs at birth. They will likely be somewhere around 14 at six months and about 21 lbs at the one-year mark.
There’s another way to define a steady weight gain – a baby will gain about 0.25 ounces per day per lbs of body weight. This way of looking at things accounts that bigger babies will also gain slightly more weight.
Weight gain in preemies
The weight gain in preemies is not as clear-cut as with full-term babies.
In the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), preemies will likely be weighed once a day to keep close track of their progress and adjust their caloric intake.
What’s the minimum weight at which a preemie can leave the hospital?
Preemies will likely stay at the NICU until they’re gaining weight steadily in a crib, too – rather than just the incubator.
The minimum weight limit at which a preemie will leave the hospital used to be 4 pounds, and that’s still the case in some hospitals. In most cases, however, the steady weight gain rule will also have to be met for a preemie to leave the NICU.
The good news is that the survival rate for preemies over 3.53 lbs (1.6 kg) is a high 95 percent.
Common pitfalls of baby weighing
If this is your first baby, you’ll see a potential problem in anything – from a bump on the head to a missed burp.
If your doctor asks for your baby to be weighed more often or the baby misses a weight mark, it’s a common trigger that throws most parents into a frenzy.
But, if you’re reading this, you have an analytical mind that looks for answers, and you probably know better than to panic. the only
Comparing your baby’s weight to others
Generally, this is not a great idea – for two reasons:
1 – Because the weight of a newborn will vary depending on a range of factors. The four big ones are gender (boys weight 0.7 lbs more on average), mother’s health, and the course of the pregnancy, and hereditary factors (does ‘size’ run in the family?).
2 – Because the development and growth spurts will vary. As long as they’re hitting those developmental milestones and your doctor is not worried, you shouldn’t be either.
Why do newborn babies lose weight?
Newborn babies might lose weight initially (up to 10%) for two reasons – they’re losing the excess water, and they are still learning the new way to feed.
Firstly, they’re born with a bit of extra water from the amniotic fluid, which is 99% water.
Secondly, although the instinct is there, they still have ways to go in terms of digesting milk. They’ve been served everything through a tube (the cord) for 9 months.
A healthy baby will start to regain weight by the time they’re two weeks old.
The bottom line and takeaways
You know now more about baby weighing than most parents ever will. You know how to do it, why it’s important and what not to do.
That’s all you need.
Stay calm and parent on,
Steph is a passionate mom who co-founded Wumblers to share her parenting journey with others. She graduated from Concordia University with a masters degree in Education Technology and worked as an advisor for many years. Steph loves being a mom and wants to have more kids.
Learn more about Steph and Wumblers here.