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Healthy Growth Indicators

Without having my baby weighed several times a week, how can I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?

Most new moms find that keeping a simple journal of their baby's healthy growth indicators is a helpful tool in the first month or two. This is especially true if there are additional siblings. Here are some basic guidelines:

Week One: One wet diaper per day for each day the baby has been alive (for example: one on day 1, two on day 2, three on day 3, etc.). As your milk begins to come in, wet diapers increase. During the first several days postpartum, dark, tarry stools (meconium) are normal. As the milk begins to come in, stools increase in frequency and the color gradually lightens to a mustard-like yellow. Two or more stools per day is normal for the first week.

Week Two to One Month: 6-8 wet diapers daily with some being saturated. Stooling patterns during this time range anywhere from four to ten per day, with some babies stooling every time they feed.

One Month and Beyond: 6-8 wet diapers daily with some being saturated. Stooling patterns change again at this point to less frequent, but the amount increases. Four to twelve days between stools is not uncommon and does not indicate constipation as long as baby is exclusively breastfed. Extended time between stools is not something to worry about as long as behavior patterns for the baby remain unchanged and the abdomen is not hard. Each baby usually develops a predictable pattern. If baby is constipated, stools will be dry, hard, and pebble-like.

Weight Gain Averages: Breastfed babies are expected to regain birth weight by two weeks of age, and after that point, 4-7 ounces gain per week is considered normal.

***A note about growth charts: With the exception of new charts released within the past year, most growth charts in use by physicians are based on data obtained from a 1960's sampling that was made up of mostly formula fed babies. Because the term "exclusive" breastfeeding is better defined today, there is no way to be certain how many of the breastfed babies in that study were even exclusively breastfed. Formula fed babies gain weight differently than exclusively breastfed babies. First of all, the protein in formula is not as digestible as the protein in human milk (no surprise there--breastmilk is perfectly created for human babies!). Because the protein in formula takes longer to digest, the body continues to release insulin during the digestion process. Insulin is used by the body to make and lay down fat. It is not surprising, then, that formula fed babies are more at risk for developing insulin dependent diabetes than are children who were exclusively breastfed as babies. If you want to know where your baby fits on a growth chart that has been designed to include a more representative sampling, ask your physician to obtain newer growth charts in her/his practice. Both SECA (800-542-7322) and Med Tech (877-433-4687) can direct you to a local distributor of these charts. The statistics were compiled from data from a WHO study in 1994 and statistics available from the National Center For Health Statistics. Any time you are unsure about the growth of your baby due to possible milk supply issues, please consult a lactation professional for evaluation.


Affect of Maternal Diet Before the Baby is Born Benefits of Breastfeeding Birth Choices
Breast Compression Breastfeeding After Breast Surgeries Establishing A Routine
Flat and Inverted Nipples Formula Use Healthy Growth Indicators Jaundice Milk Supply
Plugged Ducts and Mastitis Pumping Sleepy Baby Sore Nipples
Storage Guidelines Things People Say Thrush Weaning

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