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Go Ask Mom

Study: Some newborns don't regain birth weight for weeks

Posted November 29

Feeding. Diapers. Weight gain.

For the parents of newborns, the focus often is on those first milestones. How long are they nursing or how many bottles have they had? Do they fill up enough diapers? Have they gained enough weight to get back to their birth weight?

Babies, born with extra fluid, drop about 7 percent to 10 percent of their birth weight after they are born and are expected to pack those ounces back on within 10 days.

That expectation has left plenty of frantic parents heading back to the pediatrician's office for regular weight checks or even renting or buying a scale to monitor their infant's progress.

But a new study in this month's Pediatrics finds that many babies don't meet that weight gain goal. In fact, the study found, that only half of newborns were at or above birth weight at nine or 10 days after a vaginal and cesarean delivery.

Of those delivered vaginally, 14 percent were not back to their birth weight by 14, 5 percent by 21 days. For those delivered by c-section, 24 percent weighed less than when they were born at 14 days, 8 percent by 21 days.

The study looked at the birth weight of more than 161,000 healthy infants delivered at more than 36 weeks gestation at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Centers between 2009 and 2013.

The study's results should come as some comfort for bleary eyed new parents out there - especially for those who are breastfeeding and are not exactly sure how much milk their infants are getting.

“For families who want to breastfeed, this is important reassurance that slower regain of infant birth weight does not signal inadequate maternal breast milk supply, but rather a normal newborn growth pattern,” said Tessa Crume, a researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora who wasn’t involved in the study, in an article in Reuters.

Experts still recommend that parents check in with their child's pediatrician if they are worried about adequate weight gain.

They also should be on the look out for any signs of problems, including not enough dirty diapers and jaundice. Also, make sure that your little ones are getting enough to eat - either breast milk or formula.

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