A great deal of anxiousness is observed by parents on the ideal weight of infants. Babies who are born between 37 to 40 weeks generally weigh anywhere between 2.5 kg and 4 kg. A baby weighing over or under this weight range is equally healthy, but may require some monitoring and extra attention from doctors to ensure there is no problem. When you go for regular check ups, you can easily comprehend the ideal weight for infants.
Facts About Ideal Weight for Infants
There are different factors which have a great impact on the weight of the infants and they include genitive, health history and eating habits of the mother and her temperament. However, weighing the baby at birth time is essential to track the baby’s weight in the future.
- During first three to four days, the baby loses around 7% to 10% of his body weight. However, this 10 percent loss will be gained by the baby during the second week. After breast feeding for six months, the baby gains 2 pounds of weight every month
- Weight of new-born babies increases two times once they become 4 months old. After twelve months, that is, after or around the first birthday, you can expect his weight to be tripled
- During the first 2 years, the growth of the baby will be quite rapid and this will lead to fluctuations in the ideal weight for infants. After 24 months, the growth stabilizes and the baby will put on weight in a steady manner
Factors That Affect Ideal Weight for Infants
There are many factors that contribute to a low birth weight of a baby as mentioned below:
- Inherited Medical Condition A baby can inherit potential hereditary diseases in the womb itself, and this may lead to having a low birth-weight baby
- Term Completion: Pre-term babies and pre-mature babies are mostly born underweight. This is because the baby did not develop fully in the womb, and since babies put on weight only during the later stages of pregnancy, this stage gets missed
- Genetics: Though the mother’s weight actually impacts the weight of the baby on birth, his father’s weight also has some impact. Hereditary forms a equation in the baby’s birth weight. Some babies are simply small as it runs in the family
- Age at Conception: For all we know, women after the age of 35 tend to have larger babies. Teen pregnancies generally produce babies who are underweight
- Pre-pregnancy Weight: A BMI less than 19 is likely to account for a low weight baby, whereas a BMI greater than 24 risks the delivery weight of the baby to be quite large
- Multiple Births: Babies may be born relatively smaller in case of multiple-births as babies share the same uterus
- Diet During pregnancy: Following a poor diet can affect the ideal weight of the infant. So incorporating a proper diet is extremely crucial
- Smooth Pregnancy: A smooth and trouble-free pregnancy results in delivery of babies of optimum weight. Complication during pregnancy can affect the ideal weight of the baby
- Medical Issues Before or During Pregnancy: Any sort of medical problems that occur in the fetus during pregnancy can affect the weight of the infant. Pre pregnancy conditions like anemia, diabetes, renal condition etc. also puts the baby to be at risk as born underweight
- Placental Problems: Conditions like pre-eclampsia can reduce the blood supply to the baby, thus restricting the baby’s growth in the womb. Such babies are usually on born low weight because of the deficiency in nutrients and oxygen in the womb
- Mother’s Health: If the mother has any unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking, it may lead to a reduced birth weight of the baby
- Gender of the baby: Slight differences between weights might be observed depending on the gender of the baby. Girls are usually smaller and boys heavier
- Parents’ birth weight: Parents’ birth weight also affects the birth weight of the baby, though mother’s birth weight seems to be more significant
Premature babies are generally born underweight, and are classified as being born with a “low birth weight” or a “very low birth weight”. The preemies birth weight is dependent on the time they are born, and they need to substantiate the growth that was to happen inside the womb under the special care of doctors and nurses.
This does not imply that chubbier babies are healthy – infact many babies born larger than average may need special monitoring as well to check on any underlying problems.
How Can A Low-Birth Weight Affect My Baby?
There is no fixed rule, every baby is different and how your baby is affected due to his or her low birth weight. Most often, babies do not have any ongoing problems even with being premature, yet, there could be some who might suffer from any of the below health issues:
- Breathing problems
- Body temperature issues- the baby might not be keeping warm enough
- Sometimes, low birth babies are at an increased rate of infection, which makes it very essential to take proper care of the baby
- Mixed evidence suggests that low birth-wight babies can also be slow on the developmental front
- Low birth weight babies can also have too many red blood cells, making the baby’s blood thicker and marking the risk for polycythaemia
How Can I Help My Low Birth Weight Baby Gain Weight?
You must consider the factors that might have contributed to the low birth weight of the baby before concluding anything. Breastfeeding your baby is one of the sure-shot steps for healthy growth and development of the baby. Diet, family support, love, care and compassion for your little one would do her a great deal of good in developing. However, as your baby grows, keep a tab on her weight – some premature babies can gain weight rapidly and be on the risk of developing obesity. Some tips that may help you cope with your low birth baby are:
- Breastfeeding: The best way to nourish and nurture your baby is to breastfeed him as much as he wants. Breast milk is the perfect food for your little one to gain weight and be healthy, though sometimes the doctor may prescribe some vitamins and minerals as well
- Co-sleeping with your baby: Co-sleeping and skin-to-skin contact with your baby would aid in development of the child. Click here to read about benefits of co-sleeping with your baby
- Regular monitoring: You need to closely monitor your low-birth baby, and reach your doctor if you feel that the baby is developing jaundice, fever, or irregular or laborious breathing
- Regular doctor visits: Low birth babies need to be vaccinated on time and so regular it is necessary that you visit the doctor well in time. This will also enable to check the baby’s development and growth at regular basis
- Limit visitors: Low birth weight babies have an underdeveloped immune system, hence avoid visitors who are battling an infection, howsoever minor it may sound
To sum it up, it is extremely important to consider ideal weight for infants seriously as it is a vital indicator of underlying health problems in your little ones. If you want to track the weight gain of your baby, you can follow baby weight chart which is prepared by pediatricians. Proper diet and regular check up facilitates ideal weight gain in infants.