Newborns that are a little lighter or a little heavier than the average baby are usually fine. But they may have to receive more care from doctors and nurses after they are born just to be sure they are not presenting any problems.
There are several factors that can affect a baby’s size at birth. The duration of the pregnancy is important. Babies born around the expected due date tend to be larger than those born earlier.
Other factors include the following:
- The size and height of the parents. Tall and large parents can have newborns larger than the average baby; short and small parents can have newborns smaller than the average baby.
- Multiple births. If you have had twins, triplets, or more children at the same time, expect your babies to be a little smaller. Babies who are born in multiple births must share room to grow inside the womb and are often born early, leading to being smaller when born.
- The order of birth. First-borns are sometimes smaller than siblings born later.
- Nutrition during pregnancy . An improper diet on the part of the mother during pregnancy can affect the weight of the newborn and the growth of the infant. The fact that the mother gains too much weight during pregnancy can increase the chances that a baby will be born above the average weight.
- The health of the baby. Medical problems, such as some congenital abnormalities or malformations and some infections contracted during pregnancy can affect the weight of the newborn baby and its later growth.
What about premature babies?
The premature babies tend to be smaller and weigh less than other newborns. The weight of a premature baby depends largely on how long it takes to be born. The time the baby was lost in the womb was growth time, so the baby will have to regain that growth after birth.
Many premature babies are classified as ” low birth weight ” or ” very low birth weight .”
Bigger is better?
Before, a chubby baby with plump thighs was the clearest picture of a healthy baby. But a baby who is born much above average weight may have special medical problems that require attention.
Will my baby lose weight?
Yes, at the beginning. Babies are born with extra fluids, so it is normal for them to lose a few ounces (or grams) of weight when they lose that fluid during the first few days of life. A healthy newborn is expected to lose between 7% and 10% of his birth weight, but should regain it within approximately the first 2 weeks after birth.
Should I be concerned?
Newborns are so young that it can be hard to tell if your baby is gaining as much weight as he should. You may be concerned that your baby has lost too much weight in the first few days of life or is not getting enough breast milk or formula . In this case, talk to your child’s doctor, who may ask about the following:
- How many feedings your baby takes a day. A breastfed baby can take 8 or more feedings in a 24-hour period; Formula-fed babies tend to eat less often, perhaps every 3 to 4 hours. If a mother needs help breastfeeding her child, a breastfeeding consultant can give her recommendations for increasing her comfort during feedings.
- How often does your baby urinate. A breastfed baby may only wet one or two diapers a day until his mother’s milk rises. A baby can be expected to wet about 6 diapers between the third and fifth day of life. Thereafter, babies should wet at least 6 to 8 diapers a day.
- How many times does your baby go to the womb each day and how are his stools. Newborns only poop one diaper a day at first. The stools are dark and tarry for the first few days, but after about the third or fourth day, they become soft or loose and greenish-yellow in color. Newborns usually stain several poop diapers a day if they are breastfed, and a smaller amount if they are fed formula.