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

Fiona Marshall, Child Development Specialist


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.

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

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Showing 1 - 10 out of 14 Comments
Add Comment or question.

Divya Sep 17, 2017 10:34:29 AM ET

My baby boy is 13 months old now and his weight is 15.7 kg. And his birth weight is 3.5 kg . Is it OK ? Please suggest me.

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reshma Jul 15, 2017 01:23:57 PM ET

My baby is 15months old, his birth weight is 2.78kg, now his weight is 16kg. I'm giving him milk and home foods only. I'm worrying about my baby's weight. Can you please help me with this.

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grace Dec 9, 2016 02:53:38 PM ET

My baby's birth weight was 2.88kg, now he is 6 months and he weighs 10.4kg. Is he normal?

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Jackie Jan 22, 2015 05:13:01 PM ET

My baby girl is 8.5 months old and weighs 13 lbs. Her eating fluctuates weekly! One week she will eat 28-30oz a day, and the next 22-24oz. The doctor put her on baby food at 4 moths to add extra calories, and she wants nothing to do with it now. She has so far hit all of her milestones. I guess my question is: Should I be concerned about her weight? Why the change in food?

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Priya Aug 24, 2014 05:51:46 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 01:42:50 PM 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 05:05:27 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 01:33:04 PM 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 11:00:30 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 08:02:27 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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