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    Diseases & conditions : Pregnancy and Childbirth

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    Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

    Determining slow or poor infant weight gain

    Weight gain is one of many signs of good health in the breastfeeding baby. Sometimes, a perfectly healthy baby simply gains weight slowly because it's just his or her own unique growth pattern. In other cases, there's a problem that may or may not be easy to identify. If your baby isn't gaining weight according to certain patterns, you and your baby should be checked by your healthcare provider and a certified lactation consultant. To find out is slow weight gain is your baby's natural growth pattern or the result of something else, your provider will ask you a lot of questions about both you and your baby.

    Don't panic if your baby's weight gain is ever a concern. Whether slow weight gain is related to your baby's natural pattern or some other factor, it's almost always best for your baby to keep breastfeeding.

    The difference between a natural slow gainer and a slow-weight-gain problem

    A baby who is a natural slow gainer still gains weight steadily, though slowly:

    • Stays on a particular growth curve

    • Grows in length and head circumference according to typical rates of growth

    • Wakes on his or her own and is alert and wants to breastfeed about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. As infants get a little older, they may breastfeed less often.

    • Has about the same number of wet and dirty diapers as a faster-growing baby

    Other factors should be considered when a full-term baby is gaining weight slowly:

    • Doesn't gain about an ounce per day (30g/day) until 3 months of age

    • Doesn't gain about 0.67 ounces per day (20g/day) between 3 and 6 months of age

    • Doesn't regain birth weight by 10 to 14 days after birth

    • Has a dramatic drop in rate of growth (weight, length, or head circumference) from his or her previous curve

    Always talk with your baby's healthcare provider if you need more information.