Motherhood is an amazing experience, and it comes with a plethora of duties and responsibilities. Once you are a mother, there are several things on which you should keep a close eye on. Out of those several issues, your baby’s weight should be the matter of your paramount concern. You should be alarmed if your little one loses weight, as excessive weight loss in infants can be life-threatening. You might be thinking, why do babies lose weight after birth, so let’s have a look at the answer to this question in this article.
Why do Babies Lose Weight After Birth?
In case you’re a novice to experience motherhood, then your baby’s weight loss might be one of the primary concerns that have caught your attention. It is quite natural for your newborn baby to lose weight after birth. The reason is, the amniotic fluid inside the womb contributes to 7 to 10 percent of the total baby weight, and therefore, babies are born with some extra fluid. Hence it becomes obvious that they will lose some weight after their birth. Don’t worry! The natural growth of the baby can compensate for the weight loss in just 2-3 weeks.
It is an unavoidable fact that babies will tend to lose weight during their initial days of birth, irrespective of the diet that you carry out for your baby. Now you might be thinking about what “normal weight loss?” is. To be more precise, even a healthily nourished breastfed newborn might lose as much as 7 to 10 percent of the birth weight. This, to a certain extent, can be considered to be normal weight loss. The natural colostrum is entirely sufficient for the extensively breastfed babies to sustain for the first few days. Gradually, the mother starts to lactate in huge amounts, enriched in all the nutrients essential for the best growth of your baby. Thereby, breast milk, rich in all the vital nutrients, serves as the most natural and purest form of food for your baby to help them gain the lost weight. Naturally, continued breastfeeding helps your baby build a healthy body and compensate for the lost weight.
Notwithstanding the health benefits, breastfeeding also serves as one of the most natural forms to connect with your newborn in the best of ways. Approximately two weeks of breastfeeding is sufficient for your baby to regain his or her weight. Witnessing your baby gain weight with a food brewed by your own body is certainly one of the most satisfying experiences of motherhood.
What is Considered a “Normal Weight Loss”?
Losing a little amount of weight during their initial days is natural, and it is considered a very common phenomenon that cannot be prevented. You need to get yourself accustomed to the concept of “normal weight loss” and why it is caused. Newborn babies generally lose seven to ten percent of their original birth weight, which is considered normal weight loss. This weight loss is due to the loss of fluids from your baby’s body. The maximum baby weight for normal delivery is 3 kg. Suppose your baby’s weight is 2900 grams after birth, so he or she might lose about ten percent of the birth weight, i.e., 290 grams, and it is considered normal for your baby. The average time for a baby to lose weight is the first couple of days after your baby’s birth.
What if more than 10% of the original birth weight is lost?
Among newborn infants, weight loss is normal, but you must be alarmed if your newborn loses more than 10% of the original birth weight. You should immediately contact your baby’s pediatrician to ensure that this excessive weight loss of your little one is closely tracked and monitored through the expert eye of a doctor.
When more than 10% of your baby’s original birth weight is lost, it can be fatal for your newborn resulting in dehydration. This dehydration can thicken your little one’s blood leading to an excessive strain in your baby’s heart to work more. This, in turn, can result in the clogging of blood vessels, which can be dangerous for your baby’s health. When the fluids in your infant’s body are uncontrollably low, it can decrease your baby’s body’s sodium level, affecting the cells with can be very lethal. These adverse conditions can lead to fits and seizures, threatening your baby’s health.
The amount of weight lost by your baby is always subject to his adaptation and adjustment of weight gaining schedule, which varies from one infant to another. One parameter which also appears to be vital is how skillfully you are lactating to your young one.
It is also observed that babies who are breastfed usually lose more weight than bottle-fed ones.
What is “Excessive Weight Loss” in an Infant?
Excessive weight loss is a type of situation when your infant loses weight at an unrestrained rate. The normal baby weight at birth in kg ranges from 2.5 kg to 3.5 kg. When your baby loses more than twelve percent of his or her body weight, then it can be exceptionally detrimental to your baby’s health. Losing weight excessively in an infant’s case can result in life-threatening situations for your baby in the real sense of the term.
Is It Dangerous?
Yes, excessive weight loss in an infant can be hazardous in the true sense of the term. This, in turn, can result in severe life-threatening conditions for your baby. You must stay highly alert and consult your doctor when you notice that your baby has excessive weight loss. Excessive weight loss in infants can lead to severe conditions, which are listed below.
- Dehydration- Unrestrained weight loss of your newborn can result in dehydration. Dehydration further thickens your little one’s heart, straining it to work more. Your child’s blood vessels can get clogged up, which can pose situations that can be life-threatening for your baby.
- Decrease in your infant’s body’s sodium level- With a considerably low amount of fluid in your newborn’s body, the level of sodium in your baby’s body can fall to high levels with can affect the cells.
- Seizures and fits- Continued dehydration and a decrease in the level of sodium in your baby’s body lead to seizures and fits, which can be very harmful to your little one.
What Causes It?
There are several reasons for your infant to lose original body weight, especially when breastfeeding your baby. The following points would suggest to you about the causes of excessive weight loss in newborns.
- If your baby is not breastfed sufficiently- If your baby is not being breastfed after every two or three hours, it becomes very tough for your little one to retain his or her original body weight.
- Your baby is suffering from some medical problems –There are some medical issues like jaundice or any infection that might be responsible for your child’s excessive weight loss.
- When your milk production is delayed- Various factors such as stress, retained placenta, or certain kind of difficulty while giving birth to your baby slow your milk production. It is difficult for your little one to gain weight before your breasts fill up with milk.
- You have a low milk supply- Some physical or hormonal difficulties usually hinder the normal milk flow. Breast surgery, which is done earlier, hypothyroidism, PCOs, hypoplastic breasts can be the reason for the low supply of your breast milk. Consult your doctor if your milk does not come by the fourth day of postpartum. You can go through our natural ways to boost milk supply article to boost your milk production. Many treatments ensure a regular supply of your breast milk, helping your little one retain the original weight and even gain some weight.
- When your child has difficulty latching on, yourlittle one will not get the abundant milk required for his health without a proper latch. Your baby might face some neurological or physical problems that might disrupt your little one’s ability to latch correctly. If you have large nipples, flat nipples, inverted nipples, or severely engorged breasts, it can be challenging for your baby to latch on properly.
How do doctors diagnose excessive weight loss in babies?
The pediatrician would diagnose the newborn weight loss after birth by finding certain signs and symptoms, such as:
- The latching of your baby- Your doctor would see that your baby latches on properly or not because improper latching can be a major cause for your baby to excessively lose weight after birth
- The number of wet and dirty diapers – While examining your baby for excessive weight loss, your doctor might inquire about the number of nappies that are usually wet and made dirty by your baby. For an infant, five to ten wet nappies and three to five dirty nappies on an average daily are considered to be normal by the doctor.
- The behavior and looks of your baby- During the check-up of your baby, the doctor would see whether your baby is lively, active, and energetic. If your baby appears to be exhausted, tired, and fatigued, chances are that your baby might have developed certain health issues.
- Whether your baby makes a swallowing sound- The pediatrician would check whether your baby makes a swallowing sound during breastfeeding.
What If There are Any Concerns?
Do not panic if your baby is losing weight excessively. Follow these simple steps to avoid any significant health problems for your baby.
- Keep track of your baby’s weight- Check your baby’s weight at the comfort of your home daily.
- Consult a pediatrician- Try not to delay consulting with your child’s doctor if you find your child is excessively losing weight. Visit the doctor as early as possible so that he can examine your baby to understand the health conditions.
- Consult your doctor- Visit your doctor to find if you are having any physical or hormonal issues which can be the cause of the disruption of your regular milk supply, which in turn leads to your newborn’s excessive weight loss
- Examine your baby’s latch- Visit any expert such as a doctor, nurse, lactation consultant, or midwife to examine whether your baby has any difficulty latching on adequately or not
- Keep a close eye on your baby’s diapers- You should keep a close watch on your baby’s diapers. You must ensure that your baby wets some five to ten diapers and dirties three to five diapers daily.
How can parents help to prevent excessive weight loss in their baby?
Excessive weight loss in your baby can be very harmful to your baby’s health. Unrestrained weight loss of your little one can indeed be life-threatening. As a parent, you need to follow certain precautionary measures to avoid and eliminate such an adverse and critical situation for your baby. Some steps are listed below, which would guide you to prevent excessive weight loss of your little one.
- Be alert –Always try to keep a close eye on your baby, his or her weight behavior, moods, and whether your little one wets and dirties nearly the same number of diapers as the pediatrician had said to you before. Suppose you weigh your baby regularly and attentively follow these signs and symptoms. In that case, you can inform the doctor at the earliest hour and prevent any difficulty or situation which can indeed be threatening for your baby.
- Follow your instincts- Mothers are generally blessed with certain instincts and intuition, which would help you to understand your baby’s problems in a far better way. You should try to follow those instincts while you are taking care of your baby.
- Ensure that your baby gets skin to skin contact- Make sure that your little one is getting proper skin to skin contact abundantly. Skin-to-skin touch makes your baby feel warm, relaxed, cozy, and comfortable, which will help your little one to feed more.
- Confirm that your baby can latch on properly- Try to ensure that your baby is latching on properly and is following a good feeding position, which will help you to prevent unrestrained weight loss of your baby
- Ask for help-There might be times when you might need someone’s guidance and assistance. It would be best if you never hesitated to ask for help from someone while ensuring your little one’s comfort and well-being.
What to do if your baby is losing weight?
If you notice that your baby is losing weight, you must follow these two steps, which might help you to prevent any troubles for your newborn’s health.
- Contact your child’s pediatrician- Try to contact your little one’s pediatrician as soon as you notice your baby is losing weight excessively. Any negligence or delay in consulting with your doctor might be life-threatening for your little one.
- Do not panic-If you find your baby losing weight excessively, you must not panic. All you need to do is stay calm and composed while dealing with the crisis. Keeping yourself organized in times of such distress will ensure that you are not missing out on any small detail. This, in turn, will help you to eliminate danger and hazards.
Baby Weight Loss Conclusion
If your baby loses excessive weight, it is undoubtedly a matter of concern. Excessive weight loss in newborn babies can be fatal. Do not worry and contact your child’s pediatrician to eliminate further complications. I hope now you have got an idea why do babies lose weight after birth and also how to tackle it.
Do you know any other reasons for a baby’s weight loss? Share it with other moms in the comment section below.