Addressing Weight Gain in Infants

The issue of weight gain, in infants is a concern among parents. It's essential to recognize that not all babies grow at the pace and some are naturally gainers. However, slow weight gain can also indicate a health problem.

A crucial factor in assessing a baby's well-being is their weight gain pattern. Typically newborns lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the days. Regain it within two weeks. Following that they should steadily gain about an ounce per day during the months. Nevertheless certain babies may experience inconsistent weight gain, which may raise concerns.

Several factors can contribute to weight gain in infants, such as difficulties with breastfeeding, digestive issues or underlying health conditions. Parents should carefully monitor their baby's weight gain. Discuss any concerns with their pediatrician. With care and attention most babies can overcome weight gain and develop into healthy and thriving children.

Understanding Infant Growth

During the year of life babies undergo a natural growth process that involves changes, in length, head circumference and weight.

Babies growth is commonly assessed by plotting their measurements on a growth chart, which displays how they are progressing in comparison, to babies of the age and gender.

Typically a healthy baby follows a growth trajectory experiencing an increase in length and head circumference according to rates of growth. They naturally wake up. Remain alert showing an inclination to breastfeed 8 to 12 times within a day. As infants grow slightly older their frequency of breastfeeding may decrease.

It's important to understand that not all babies grow at the pace. Some babies naturally gain weight at a rate. Still show steady progress albeit more gradually. Long as the baby stays on their growth curve observes increases in length and head circumference and achieves other developmental milestones there is usually no cause for concern.

However if a baby isn't gaining weight at a rate for their health it could indicate an issue. Other factors worth considering include whether the baby gains one ounce per day (30g/day) until three months of age and 0.67 ounces per day (20g/day), between three and six months of age while regaining their birth weight within 10 to 14 days after being born.

If a baby is not meeting these milestones it is crucial to seek guidance, from a healthcare professional in order to identify the reasons behind weight gain and determine appropriate treatment. At Boston Children's Hospital the Growth and Nutrition Program brings together a team of experts including doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers, behavioral specialists and speech therapists who collaborate to support babies experiencing weight gain.

Factors Contributing to Slow Weight Gain

There are factors that can contribute to weight gain in infants. Some of the causes include;

Challenges with Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can present difficulties for both mother and baby. Insufficient latching onto the breast can result in milk intake, impacting weight gain. To address issues seeking assistance from a lactation consultant or certified specialist can help overcome breastfeeding challenges.

Inadequate Nutrition

Insufficient nutrient intake may impede weight gain, for babies. This could occur if the mother's diet lacks nutrition or if the baby is not receiving an amount of milk. It is essential for mothers to maintain a balanced diet while ensuring their babies receive nourishment.

Diminished Milk Supply

When a mother's milk production is insufficient it may lead to feeding for the baby.This could result in an increase, in weight. There are factors that can contribute to milk production, including stress, lack of sleep and certain medications.

Establishing a Feeding Schedule

If the baby isn't being fed enough they may not be receiving an amount of nourishment. Consequently their weight gain could be slow. It's crucial to establish a feeding schedule for the baby of whether they are breastfed or formula fed.


Jaundice is a condition among newborns. It occurs when there is an amount of bilirubin in their blood. This can make the baby feel lethargic and uninterested in eating. If left untreated jaundice can impede weight gain. Therefore seeking treatment for jaundice is important for the baby.

Heart Disease

In instances slow weight gain might indicate a serious underlying condition like heart disease. If the baby isn't gaining weight despite receiving nourishment it's essential to consult with a doctor to rule out any medical issues.

Monitoring Weight Gain

Monitoring a baby's weight gain is crucial, for ensuring their growth and development.

One way to keep track of a baby's weight gain is, by monitoring the number of dirty diapers they have each day. Typically a baby should have six wet diapers and three dirty diapers per day.

For newborns it's crucial to monitor their weight gain during the first few weeks of life. Within ten to fourteen days after birth a newborn should regain their birth weight. After that they should gain around one ounce per day (30g/day) until they reach three months old. Between three and six months old the average weight gain is 0.67 ounces per day (20g/day).

Regularly measuring the baby's length and head circumference is also important. These measurements can help determine if the baby is growing at a rate. Growth charts that track a baby's weight, length and head circumference over time can be useful for monitoring their growth.

If a baby is not gaining weight at a rate it's crucial to seek advice from a healthcare professional. They may suggest feedings. Recommend changes, in the feeding routine. In some cases slow weight gain could indicate a condition that requires treatment.

To sum up it is essential to monitor a baby's weight gain to ensure their development. Parents and healthcare providers can track a baby's weight gain by keeping an eye on dirty diapers measuring length and head circumference and referring to growth charts. If there are any concerns, about a baby's weight gain consulting with a healthcare provider is important.

Addressing Weight Gain

When a baby has weight gain it is crucial to address the issue promptly. Healthcare providers may suggest strategies based on the cause of the problem. Here are some general tips that can help address weight gain in babies;

Regaining Birth Weight; If a newborn fails to regain their birth weight within 10 to 14 days after birth it may indicate weight gain. In cases healthcare providers might recommend frequent feedings or supplementing with formula if necessary.

Increasing Calories; If a baby isn't gaining weight at the expected rate healthcare providers may advise increasing calorie intake, in their diet. This can be achieved by feeding or increasing the amount of formula or breast milk given at each feeding.

Introducing Solid Foods; Babies around 6 months old may be ready to start incorporating foods into their diet. Introducing foods can be beneficial, for increasing calorie intake and promoting weight gain. However it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting solids.

Keep an Eye on Foods; While introducing foods can help with weight gain it's important to keep track of the amount and types of solids given to babies. Offering solid food may affect their milk intake, which could potentially slow down weight gain.

Consider Natural Slow Weight Gain; Some babies naturally gain weight at a pace. As long as they are steadily growing and reaching developmental milestones there may not be cause for concern. Healthcare providers can assess whether slow weight gain is indicative of an issue or simply a natural variation.

Addressing Failure to Thrive; In cases slow weight gain might signal failure to thrive—a condition where a baby isn't growing and developing as expected. When this happens healthcare providers may recommend tests and interventions to address the cause of the problem.

In summary addressing weight gain, in babies requires monitoring and intervention when necessary. Healthcare providers are there to offer guidance and support in ensuring that babies are growing and developing as expected.

If parents or caregivers are worried, about their baby's weight gain or failure to thrive it is essential to seek assistance and guidance. They should consult a doctor or healthcare provider who can evaluate the baby's growth and development and determine if there are any conditions or nutritional issues that need attention.

In some instances a pediatrician might recommend supplementing with formula or adjusting its preparation to aid in weight gain. It is crucial to follow the pediatrician's instructions when preparing formula as preparation can lead to illness or other health complications.

Aside from care social workers can offer support and resources for families facing challenges with feeding or caring for their baby. They can help connect families with community resources and support services that address food insecurity, financial assistance and other needs.

Overall it is important for parents and caregivers concerned about their baby's weight gain to seek help and guidance. With care and support babies can thrive and reach their full potential.

Taking into account factors is also crucial when addressing weight gain, in babies. Parents should make sure that their baby is receiving calories and nutrients to support their growth and development.

Breast milk is considered the source of nutrition, for infants as it contains all the nutrients for their growth. If a baby isn't gaining weight as expected it's important to ensure they are receiving breast milk. Sometimes increasing the frequency of feedings or ensuring a latch can help boost milk supply and improve weight gain.

For babies who are given formula it's crucial to provide them with an amount based on their age and weight. Overfeeding can lead to weight gain while underfeeding can contribute to weight gain.

There may be cases where dietary restrictions are necessary. Babies with disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten while those with intolerance or a milk allergy should steer clear of dairy products. In situations alternative sources of nutrition should be provided to ensure that the baby receives calories and essential nutrients.

It's important for parents to work closely with healthcare providers in determining the dietary approach for a baby experiencing slow weight gain. Registered dietitians can also offer guidance on nutrition for babies, with specific dietary restrictions.

It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best dietary approach for a baby with slow weight gain. A registered dietitian can also provide guidance on appropriate nutrition for babies with dietary restrictions.

Questions? Email Jack Newman at, or Edith Kernerman at or consult: Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers in the USA) or our DVD, Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding; or The Latch Book and Other Keys to Breastfeeding Success; or L-eat Latch & Transfer Tool, or the GamePlan for Protecting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the First 24 Hours of Life and Beyond.  See our website at  To make an appointment email and respond to the auto reply or call 416-498-0002. 

Handout Slow Weight Gain After the First Few Months May 2008
Written and Revised by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC 1995-2005

 This handout may be copied and distributed without further permission,
on the condition that  it is not used in any context that violates
the International WHO Code on The Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes


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