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Know About Premature Baby Weight Gain And Weight Chart

5 min read

Do you have a preemie? Do you want to make sure that he or she is on the right track when it comes to weight gain? Are you in search of more information on the optimal weight gain for your preemie? If the answers to these questions are yes, then continue reading to know more about premature baby weight gain and how the weight chart will help you to learn how much your premature baby should be gaining every week. Read: 10 Questions Parents Of Every Premature Baby Ask- And Answers
preemie weight

  • Who Is A Premature Baby?
  • How Much Does A Premature Baby Generally Weigh?
  • How Is The Age Of Premature Baby Calculated?
  • When Do Premature Babies Start Gaining Weight?
  • Premature Baby Weight Calculator
  • Weight Gain And Feeding Of Preemie

Who Is A Premature Baby?

Many parents, especially the new mothers, often feel anxious over their baby’s weight and the rate at which the newborn is gaining weight. The general weight gain can be a point of greater worry and tension for parents of premature babies. A baby is regarded as premature if he or she is born any time before 37 weeks of gestation. To know more read : What is premature delivery? The preemie has to overcome several obstacles regarding their health. Read: Common Health Issues Of Premature Babies. Some of the most significant factors that ought to be taken care of when it comes to preemies are, providing them optimum nourishment and ensuring adequate weight gain. Both of these factors are vital for the overall health and development of the baby. Premature baby’s nutritional needs will not be the same as the babies who are born full-term.

How Much Does A Premature Baby Generally Weigh?

Full term babies weigh around 3 kg. However, the weight of the preterm babies depends on how early the baby is born. More often preemies weigh less than 2.3 kg. The weight gain is directly proportional to the time of delivery. Earlier the delivery, lesser will be the weight of the preemie. Due to various advancement in the field of medical science, more than 90% of premature babies weighing 800 grams or more, that is, a little under 2 pounds, are able to survive. 60 % of preemies weighing more than 500 gms, will be able to pull through the various hurdles they will face after birth. Apart from these facts, some preemies especially those who are born closer to the due date are found to weigh nearly as much as full-term infants. Read: Early Challenges And Care For Premature Babies

How Is The Age Of Premature Baby Calculated?

When it comes to growth and development, for finding out if the preemie is catching with the milestones, it is important to figure out the premature baby’s exact age!
Yes, you celebrate your baby’s birthday on the day he or she is born. However, for reading the growth chart correctly, the age calculations are a little different. Premature babies go by their altered age. Here is a simple way to calculate it:
Subtract the number of weeks he or she is premature from the current week. That is, if the baby is 12 weeks old, and if he or she arrived three weeks earlier, then you should check whether the growth chart to see if he is catching up with the milestone of 9 weeks instead of 12 weeks (12-3).

When Do Premature Babies Start Gaining Weight?

  • The weight gain of the premature babies depend on a lot of factors and one of them is how soon the baby is born. Read: Top 12 Causes Of Low Birth Weight In Babies
  • Premature babies start gaining weight in a few days after birth
  • If the baby is born too early and is too small, he will only gain around 5 grams per day
  • If the baby is born too close to due date, he or she will gain around 15 to 20 gms per day

Premature Baby Weight Calculator

The following chart will help you to understand desired weight gain of a preemie week by week
premie growth chart

Weight Gain And Feeding Of Preemie

If your preemie is born earlier than 34 weeks, feeding will obviously be a reason of worry. You will not be able to breastfeed the baby or even feed by using a bottle. This is because your preemie is not matured enough to suck, breath and gulp at the same time. But then it is very important for the baby to get enough nutrition for gaining proper weight.
The premature babies are prone to a lot of complications that can interfere with their capability to feed by mouth. The risk of choking is very high and can be dangerous for the preemies. Some of the issues include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Low level of oxygen
  • Issues related to circulatory system

A neonatal pediatric specialist will first evaluate your baby’s condition and then will decide the best method of feeding in the initial days. Here are some alternative feeding methods for the preemies:

    • Feeding through IV lines: The fluids and nutrition can be given through intravenous (IV line), which is placed in arm, leg or even the soft skull of the preemie. This method is suggested if:
      • The baby is extremely premature and the digestive system is also immature
      • The baby develops breathing problems as their lungs are not fully developed

feeding premature baby

  • Gavage feeding: Gavage feeding is a method, through which the breast milk or formula is directly carried to the baby’s stomach. A tube which is put through the baby’s nose carries breast milk or formula to the stomach. This method is suggested for:
    • The preemies who are too small or weak and have problem coordinating their suck and swallow
    • The preemies who may have lung and heart problems
    • The preemies whose digestive system is mature enough to digest the breast milk or formula that is given to them
  • Breast and bottle feeding: Once the baby has developed the skill of harmonizing sucking and swallowing, the medical team will help the parents to attempt breast-feeding. The mother and child will be discharged from the hospital only after the mother is able to feed the baby and baby can swallow and digest the milk given to him

Breast milk is the best choice for your baby. If you are making enough milk, you can express milk and pumped breast milk can be given to the baby once he is ready for either gavage, breastfeeding or bottle feeding. If the breast milk is not sufficient then donor breast milk or formula milk are other options. The quantity of milk or formula is gradually increased, especially in case of very premature babies. There may be a need to mix a supplement called human milk fortifier in the breast milk of the preemies who are fed only breast milk in order to provide them with extra proteins, calcium, vitamins, iron and calories. More frequent feeding is needed for preemies as they are in need of more nutrition and are prone to dehydration.
Was your baby born prematurely? How was the weight gain of your preemie and how did you feed your baby initially? Do share your experience in the comments section below.

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