Is Infant Weight Loss Normal?

Learn if it's normal for an infant to lose weight from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.

Prior to discharge from the hospital, your baby will often lose weight from the birth weight. This is normal. Babies are born with excess fluid so that fluid often makes them weigh a little bit more at birth. Within the first week of life, it’s normal to lose some body weight. We want to make sure that the baby does not lose more than ten percent of its body weight. Losing weight is okay as long as it does not mean that the baby is not getting enough nutrients. We want to make sure that the baby is eating well, drinking breast milk or formula well.

We want to ensure that the baby has four to five wet diapers a day and is stooling well. If a baby loses weight and it’s up to ten percent, your pediatrician might have you come back one or two times during the first week of life to monitor the baby’s weight loss. Weight loss can also bring on jaundice. So we want to monitor the baby that the baby is not becoming jaundiced.

By the second week of life, the babies regain enough weight that they are back to their birth weight. This is normal. Please note that not all babies lose weight, and some babies are very good eaters and gain weight from the first day of life and continue gaining weight onwards. This is also normal.

If your doctor is concerned that your baby has lost too much weight, your doctor might ask you to come back for daily weight checks. And this is fine. If you think your baby is losing weight and you haven’t been back to the doctor, give your pediatrician a call and let them know that there might be feeding difficulties. We would never want to miss a baby who is not thriving.