When you’re a brand new parent, nothing is more important to you than your baby’s health. But ask most new parents what their biggest concern is and they will likely say “I’m worried my baby isn’t gaining enough weight.” It’s a universal worry and for good reason. Here, we’ll share some expert advice that will answer the question and, hopefully, put your new-parent mind at ease.
Brand New Babies Often Lose a Little Weight
In your baby’s first day or so of life, it’s totally normal for him or her to lose a little weight, so don’t let those few ounces send you into a tailspin! Expect it and that should help ease your anxiety when it happens. Your baby was born with some extra water weight to help hold her over until your milk comes in. And mother nature made sure that colostrum (the first milk you produce) contains everything your baby needs until your milk is available.
Colostrum is an amazing substance - packed with nutrients and protein - that actually helps your baby begin to build his immune system from day one. So, don’t worry as that water weight comes off in the first few days - trust that your little one is getting amazing nutrition whether from the breast or bottle.
Babies Usually Start Gaining Weight Within Five Days
Two to four days after you give birth, your breast milk will “come in” (trust us - you will KNOW it’s in!). And that’s around when you’ll see your baby gaining weight (sooner if you’re bottle-feeding). You can expect your baby to begin gaining weight within five days of birth and within 10 to 14 days, she’ll have returned to her birth weight (and then some). Typically, once babies get back to their birth weight, they’ll gain 4 to 7 ounces a week for the first 4-6 months.
Track Poop and Pee Diapers to Gauge Your Baby’s Health
Your baby’s poopy diapers are an important way to gauge what’s happening with their feedings, so you should track each of them. We know - when you’re in the midst of new-baby chaos and exhaustion, adding one more thing to your to-do list can seem impossible. It will help to have a hands-free diaper logging device like Wunder to log and track this plus feedings, sleep and more.
According to Richard Schanler, M.D., Director of Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System:
- In the first two days, your newborn will usually have one bowel movement per day and it will be very dark and sticky (this is called meconium). Expect two to three wet diapers these first couple days.
- By about day three, your baby will begin to pass an average of three stools per day. Urine output will also start increasing.
- After day three or four, a breastfed baby’s stool will become softer and yellow(ish) and a baby on formula will have a darker, firmer stool. If your baby’s stools don’t seem to be transitioning, he may not be getting enough milk, and you may want to call your pediatrician.
- After day four, your baby will start to have bowel movements 8-12 times a day (fun!) You can expect about six to eight wet diapers by the end of the first week and beyond.
Try not to become too panicked if your baby doesn’t follow this trajectory perfectly - these are just meant to be general guidelines. If you’re concerned, take a deep breath and know that the vast majority of infants end up gaining weight just fine. The most important thing you can do as a new parent is track your baby’s diapers so if you become concerned, you have data for the doctor.