In the beginning, parents are often unsure whether their child is gaining enough weight and is at the right weight. But rosy skin, alert interest and properly wet diapers indicate a healthy baby.
Recognize the sufficient amount of milk for the baby
If you are breastfeeding your baby, you may sometimes be unsure whether your baby is actually taking in enough milk. But to realize this, you do not need to constantly weigh your baby. Rather, look for the following signs:
- If your child is content and lively, nurses frequently, has six to eight wet diapers and – in the first four weeks – two or more stool diapers in 24 hours, he or she is certainly getting enough milk.
- If your child is thriving, it is sufficient to check the weight regularly once a week – preferably not immediately before or after feeding – during the first months of life. At four, five months, it is usually enough to weigh your child once a month.
How to keep baby’s weight in balance
It is quite normal that your baby will initially lose some weight in the first few days after birth. However, with seven, at the latest with 14 days the birth weight should be reached again as a rule. Further weight gain depends on many different factors and varies from baby to baby. The following table on average weight gain provides some orientation. However, your baby’s gain may be above or below this level for a short period of time without this necessarily causing a problem. These data can only be used for healthy and mature babies, not for premature babies, malnourished newborns or babies with certain diseases or disabilities.
|0 – 2 months||ca. 170 – 330 g/week|
|2 – 4 months||ca. 110 – 330 g/week|
|4 – 6 months||ca. 70 – 140 g/week|
|6 – 12 months||approx. 40 – 110 g/week|
In the first six to twelve months, small pockets of fat often appear on the face, shoulders, thighs and buttocks. This is quite normal and not a sign of overweight. At around five months, the birth weight has doubled and tripled by the end of the first year of life. The development of your child’s weight and height is recorded for you in the yellow child examination booklet, also known as the screening booklet, during the early detection examinations.
Too light, too heavy? – Babies with disabilities
Some children with disabilities develop less appetite. Others eat less than necessary due to chewing or swallowing difficulties. To prevent your baby from becoming too thin or even emaciated, a little fat should be added to each meal. Smaller but more frequent meals can also be used to slowly increase the amount of food eaten. Later, children become more interested in eating when meals are varied or visually "spiced up". Under certain circumstances, a high-fiber drink or tube feed can also be useful. You should seek advice here, for example from appropriately specialized doctors or experienced self-help groups.
Because some children with disabilities or a chronic illness can move less, they tend to be overweight. Parents of children with Down syndrome (trisomy 21) in particular should make sure that their children largely avoid sugary drinks and sweets. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and quark should be reduced to 1.5 percent fat. It is also advisable to reduce the amount of butter and margarine you eat. However: Do not be too strict. The food issue should not become a battle between parent and child.
When you should consult your pediatrician or pediatrician
Whenever you have questions about your baby’s weight or are concerned about whether he or she is getting enough milk, you should bring this up at the pediatrician’s office. In any case, you should consult your pediatrician,
- if your child drinks noticeably little and without strength, spits up a lot or vomits;
- if your breastfed baby does not get full despite frequent feedings;
- if your baby is not growing and thriving properly;
- if you have general concerns about your baby’s body weight.
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