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You are here: Home > Baby > Baby Care & Health

Q&A: Baby's Weight Gain in the First Year

by Fiona Marshall, Child Development Specialist |
10 Comments

Dear Fiona,
My 1 year old baby (girl) is weighing 14.5 pounds which is 2 times of her birth weight. But I heard that about 1 year the baby should weigh 3 times of her birth weight. But my baby is doing very fine in other milestones. Can you clear my concern about this weight factor?

Thanks for your query about your baby's weight. Weight can be a really emotional issue for many parents, as it's a visible sign of how well their baby is thriving, and some mothers can worry if they suspect their baby isn't gaining enough.

Your baby is expected to have roughly doubled her birth weight by six months, and from then on, weight gain slows to approximately 0.5kg/1lb a month. So, by the official charts, your baby may be slightly leaner than the norm, but don't panic! There are many reasons why she may not be as chubby as the baby next door.

First, why is weight important anyway? Measuring weight gain is the most practical way of measuring your child's growth and physical health, including parts of her body that can't be seen, such as bones, brain and internal organs. Weight gain tells you whether your baby is getting enough food and if that food is being absorbed, which is crucial as malnutrition in the early months can cause problems with physical growth and brain development.

However it is important to look at weight within the context of baby's general development, as you have done. Is she's lively and energetic, and reaching physical milestones comfortably? For example does she sit well, crawl, and maybe stand? Is she curious and sociable? Does she love to explore the world with her hands? In other words, if she's happy and generally thriving on her current food intake, there is probably no need to worry.

Certain factors influence your baby's weight gain: 

* activity level - a thin, lively, wakeful baby who's busy and mobile may take the same food as a quieter baby, but put on less weight because her activity burns up more calories.
* genetic inheritance - some babies are naturally thinner
* gender - boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls
* general health
* type of food offered (see below, nutrition.)
* psychological factors - if you, mother, are under stress, babies can sometimes react and gain less weight also.

Nutrition
What about nutrition? Ensure enough food is offered from all the major food groups - carbohydrates (bread, cereal, rice and pasta); fruit and vegetables; proteins (meat, fish, thoroughly cooked eggs, dairy foods, nuts (unless allergic) and pulses; and fats, oils and sugars. Offer snacks two or three times a day as well as main meals. Don't make your baby eat a 'healthy diet' - low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-fiber diets may be good for adults, but can result in malnutrition in babies. However, don't offer too many sugary foods and never offer salt.

Other tips
* Keep mealtimes relaxed, sociable events.
* Give your baby enough time to finish a meal. Let her play with her food and make a mess, if need be.
* Don't have the tv on during meals as it can distract her.
* Don't pressure her to eat or reward her for eating - most healthy kids eat when hungry.
* Don't follow her around the house, offering titbits on a spoon - she'll sense your anxiety and play up to it!

Still worried?
If you still have concerns about your baby's weight, do not ignore them. Ask your regular health care provider for advice. He or she may suggest having baby's weight monitored for a few weeks. As well as more frequent weighing, your health care provider may check for other signs of well being, such as regular wet diapers, general happiness and responsiveness, good eye contact and skin color, and subcutaneous fat on her arms and thighs.

Along with prolonged failure to gain weight, real signs of concern include:
* baby not interested in feeding
* baby is hot
* crying a lot, and can't be pacified
* hasn't passed urine in the last four hours

In the case of any of the above symptoms, get baby medically checked as soon as possible. Remember, the suggestions above are not an individual medical diagnosis, so it is important to trust your own intuition, and talk things over with a medically qualified person who can see and assess your baby personally.

Hope your baby continues to thrive!

All best wishes,

Fiona

Fiona Marshall is a Child Development Specialist and author of several books including "101 Questions about Your Baby's Development".

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Comments


Showing 1 - 10 out of 10 Comments
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Priya Aug 24, 2014 01:51:46 PM ET

Hi my baby boy's weight at birth was 2.7 lbs. at present he is 95 days and is 4.7 lbs. is that normal for his age?? also he likes to sleep more, and is not very interested in breastfeeding. kindly guide.

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Lola Feb 8, 2013 08:42:50 AM ET

My baby girl is 4 months, she weighs 13 pounds and her length is 27 inches, she only drinks 16 oz of milk for 24 hours, is she normal

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Smily Dec 25, 2012 12:05:27 AM ET

Mybaby boy was 6 and 2 at birth and he is now 11 mths and weighs only 16 and 10. is that pk? he is reaching his milestones and an active baby. sleeps for 11 hrs on a day. pls advice.

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Mazee Mar 9, 2012 08:33:04 AM ET

My little girl was born weighing 2.7 kg and now she is 7mnths 2weeks and weighs in at 6.5 kg. she is not a fussy eater and is reaching her milestones. is that a healthy weight for her at 7 months?

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Leah Forsburg Sep 27, 2005 07:00:30 PM ET

My "little" girl was born via c-section 9.4 lbs. she is formula fed, 3.5 months old and is now 18 lbs !!! is that ok?

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Consuelo Sep 20, 2005 04:02:27 PM ET

My son weighed 7lbs 8 oz at birth. at 1 month he was 11.7, at 2 months he was14.7, at 3 months he is 17lbs. i breastfed the first 2 months. now he is on formula. i love my big chunker he is wearing 6-9 months and he is 12 weeks old.

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PRATHNA Aug 30, 2005 05:25:25 PM ET

My baby boy is 9months plus and weights 10kgs.at birth he was 2.7kgs.is he alright according to his age?.my friends baby girl is 11 kgs and is of 16months.what should his weight be when he is 1 year of age?

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Melissa Jul 19, 2005 10:50:39 PM ET

My babie was born weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces then went down to 6 pounds 12 ouns when he left the hospital. he is now six weeks old and weighs in at 12 pounds 1 ounce. he is still beutiful and has a cute chubbiness to him but do you think that is to much of a weight gain and should i be concerned.

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Karen Hillig Jul 18, 2005 11:14:45 PM ET

My baby is not thriving. he lost weight this month. at nine months, he refuses to eat jarred food even though we went through all different kinds one at a time per the doctor. he only wants formula and even then only drinks 28 oz per day. he is 15 lbs. 12 oz and is 9 months and two weeks old. help!

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Lori Jun 7, 2005 12:04:44 AM ET

Is it possiable for a babay too wiegh 12 pounds at a year old?

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